As water levels along the Yangtze River recede amid China’s driest summer in six decades, historical evidence of an ancient tradition of wisdom has emerged from the depths of the normally mighty river in the form of ‘a trio of Buddhist statues, believed to date from around 600 years ago. .
The three statues, the largest of which depicts a monk sitting on a lotus platform, surfaced near the southern city of Chongqing. The carvings are carved into a prominent rock outcrop that sits atop the reef on Foyeliang Island, originally dated to the Ming and Qing dynasties, according to a report by Reuters news agency.
The Yangtze, Asia’s longest river and the world’s third longest, is believed to be at its lowest level for this time of year since records began in 1865. Entire sections and dozens of tributaries have dried up, closing some essential shipping routes. totally. The Yangtze, the source of drinking water for more than 400 million Chinese, is a major driver of the country’s economy and a key link in China’s supply chain with the world.
The ongoing heat wave and accompanying drought in parts of southern China has also left the country’s two largest freshwater lakes at their lowest since records began. The water in the largest lake, Poyang, is said to have dropped by 75%, the lowest level since 1951.
According to Chan’s state broadcaster CCTV, at least 66 rivers in 34 counties of Chongqing Municipality have dried up, impacting hydropower generation, halting commercial shipping and disrupting traffic. industrial and agricultural activity. Rainfall in the Yangtze Basin has been about 45 percent below normal since July, and official forecasts say this summer’s scorching temperatures are unlikely to ease for at least a week. On Saturday, the National Meteorological Bureau issued a red heat wave warning – the highest on a three-tiered alert scale – for southern China, its ninth straight warning in 31 straight days of warnings in high temperature.
“Over the past month, 4.5 million square kilometers [representing about half of China’s total land mass] experienced temperatures of 35C or higher,” the National Weather Center reported late last week. “More than 200 national monitoring stations observed record highs, with temperatures reaching 45°C in Beipei, Chongqing” (South China Morning Post)
The National Meteorological Center has forecast that the heat wave will last at least until August 25 and could continue until September.
The Chinese crisis has echoed around the world, with a spike in record temperatures that is depleting water supplies and, at the same time, laying bare lost relics of the past as water levels drop.
Spain’s worst drought in decades, which has seen reservoirs shrink, has also been marked by the reappearance of a prehistoric circle of megaliths known as the Dolmen de Guadalperal, which is believed to have it dates from 5000 BC.
“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to be able to access it,” archaeologist Enrique Cedillo of Complutense University in Madrid said of the site dubbed the “Spanish Stonehenge”. (CNN)
Meanwhile, Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube, has dried up enough to reveal the broken hulls of more than 20 German warships sunk during World War II near the Serbian port city of Prahovo. Many ships still contain large amounts of ammunition and explosives.
“The German flotilla left behind a great ecological disaster that threatens us, the people of Prahovo,” said Velimir Trajilovic, a 74-year-old local resident and war historian. (ABC News)
However, climate experts continue to repeat warnings that such extreme weather events are likely to become the new global normal as the climate crisis deepens and global temperatures continue to rise.
Bernice Lee, chair of the advisory board of the London-based Chatham House Sustainability Accelerator, a think tank working for a sustainable future, warns that many societies and governments around the world remain either unprepared or underprepared for the impacts of global warming. “Looking ahead, while the frequency of extreme weather events looks set to increase, the future could be even bleaker. (The Guardian)
China’s falling Yangtze water levels reveal ancient Buddhist statues (Reuters)
Yangtze narrows as China drought disrupts industry (AP)
Drought in China causes the Yangtze River to dry up, causing a shortage of hydropower (The Guardian)
The heatwave and drought in China will continue with power cuts, delivery interrupted and crops threatened (South China Morning Post)
‘Spanish Stonehenge’ emerges from drought-hit dam (CNN)
Europe’s worst drought in years exposes explosive-laden Nazi wrecks from World War II in the Danube (ABC News)
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