China: More and more sandstorms in cities due to global warming

Sandstorms are settling in Chinese cities, like here in Shenyang on April 11, 2023. AFP - STR

Text by: Stéphane Lagarde Follow

2 min

China faces record sandstorms. For the fifth day in a row, the people of Beijing woke up this Friday morning without being able to open the windows. With global warming, the yellow winds of the Gobi desert last longer according to specialists.


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from our correspondent in Beijing,

This fifth consecutive day of dust made the local media cough again this Friday, April 14 in the morning in Beijing. Because if sandstorms are not new in this season, this is the eighth time this year that the Gobi winds settle in the megacities of northern China.


Spring is here, flowers are everywhere, but you can't see them," explains this thirty-year-old from Jiangsu province, crossed in a park in the capital with her sister and baby. The cub is disguised as a cosmonaut to escape the dust that stings the eyes. "We come from the south, and this year there are also sand winds in the south. We've been here for a week. And today, we wanted to go out. But see: we wear masks! And for the baby, we put this big plastic visor that I have to keep on his neck, otherwise the dust comes in," explains this other woman.

Going out to the park where retirees play Kong Zhu, the "bamboo of the air" or Chinese diabolo that seems to turn in unison with the sand winds. After an index of more than 500 in recent days, at about 200 this Friday, microparticle detectors can practically breathe, but Beijingers continue to wonder where the dust comes from.

Rising temperatures

According to the Forest and Grassland Administration, these repeated sandy storms come mainly from southern Mongolia and China's Inner Mongolia province. They also affect this year the south of the Yangtze River: 400 million people in fifteen provinces are concerned, said the China Meteorological Observatory last Tuesday.

Human activities, overgrazing, coal-fired power plants are singled out and global warming that accompanies them. "In March, southern Mongolia and northeast China recorded a temperature rise of 5 to 8 degrees," Liu Bingjiang was quoted as saying by the Pangpai news site.

This warming combined with the lack of snow cover has led to an early melting of permafrost, adds the director of the atmospheric environment department at China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment, releasing more sand.

Chinese authorities issue health warning amid sandstorms.

— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) April 12, 2023

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