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Countries across the world are currently experiencing extreme weather and droughts. The largest freshwater lake in China is at its lowest water levels for years thanks to a drought, according to state officials and media. The shrinking lake does not bode well for fishermen who rely on it for their livelihoods and for the local ecology.
The Xinhua news agency stated that Poyang Lake, located in East China’s Jiangxi province, is shrinking quickly and has experienced over a decade-long dry spell. This is due to the Gan River, which is connected to the lake, not receiving enough rain and causing the water levels to hit record lows. “This year’s level is very low,” an anonymous official declared, affirming that the rainfall for the area was 65 percent less than average for December.
Texas is also experiencing its worst drought on record. The year 2011 was the driest ever for the state, says the National Weather Service, and it was the second hottest. Meteorologists do not believe this will improve for the year 2012 and the result will be further restrictions on water and the death of millions of trees. Lake Lavon has shrunk by 12 feet due to North Texas’ lack of rain and record-setting heat. “It is a challenging time, especially to bring awareness to our consumers and businesses how critical our drought has impacted our reservoirs,” stated Denise Hickey, spokesperson for the North Texas Municipal Water District. “As we’re planning to move through this drought period, we’re also planning and initiating additional strategies to bring additional sources online.” The Texas Forest Service believes that so far, the severe drought has killed 500 million trees.
In Latin America, nations have also been dealing with a plethora of problems stemming from the extreme weather, including wildfires, droughts, and floods. Many have wondered if climate change and global warming are responsible for the unusual weather and according to experts, this is most likely the case. Chile experienced an uncharacteristic heat wave, which resulted in rampant burning wildfires, while Northern Mexico has been dealing with its worst drought in 70 years.
On the other hand, Colombia has had two seasons of heavy rain, which has killed 182 people and resulted in about $2 billion in damage. A rose farm in a Colombian town named Chia sustained an estimated $6 million dollars in damages from the April and December floods. Javier Castellanos, the rose farm manager, stated, “Never in the history of this farm- and it’s a business with 30 years in the market- have we ever had any such problem.” Researchers assert that Latin America is at more risk to the extreme weather changes worsening in the future than any other region in the world because of deforestation and its sprawling construction. These elements cause it to be more vulnerable to landslides and flooding.