Have you ever heard the suggestion of blowing a big hole in the Himalaya to let in warm oceanic air currents, thus making the Northwest wet?
It may seem like a joke, but scientists have really studied its feasibility. Today we will see what the results of its research.
The sharp contrast between the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau and the northwest desert
The Tibetan Plateau and the Northwest Desert are both typically "sparsely populated" areas, but there is a big contrast between the two, mainly in terms of water resources.
According to the information, the glaciers in China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau region cover an area of about 50,000 square kilometers and are the source of many plateau rivers. Because of this, the water resources of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are very rich, and the groundwater and surface water together can even reach 638.66 billion cubic meters, and the water resources reserve accounts for 22.71% of the total water resources in China.
And our northwest is full of deserts. Take Xinjiang as an example, where there is the second largest mobile desert in the world - the Taklamakan Desert, which covers an area of 330,000 square kilometers, about the size of three South Koreas.
This shows that the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Northwest Desert, one is too much water to use, and the other is no water available. In this case, a large area of land in the northwest is deserted. If we can solve the problem of water resources, will be planted with crops, then the northwest can also be turned into a "granary" or the land of fish and rice.
Of course the differences between the two areas have been known for a long time, and leading experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have seriously considered "bridging" the two areas to allow water vapor to enter the Northwest desert.
Scientists have studied and the Himalayan bomb opening
China's scientists, Qian Xuesen and Qian Weichang, have been very concerned about improving the climate of the Northwest, so in 1998, Gao Dengyi led an expedition into the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon and described the "natural water vessel channel" here, and then came up with the idea of studying the "transformation of the natural environment, so that water vapor can enter the Northwest".
So far, the "foolish dream" of blowing a big hole in the Himalayas has really been included in the scope of research.
However, the idea of scientists at that time was to "expand" the natural water vapor channel of the Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon to allow more water vapor to be transported to the arid northwest region to improve the local climate.
And after Qian Xuesen and Qian Weichang exchanged their suggestions for each other, they also made a special call to inquire about Ye Duzheng, who is a famous meteorologist in China.
With this laid out, Yeh Duk-jung also began to think about the feasibility of the proposal and indicated to Gao Dengyi, who was discussing the Yarlung Tsangpo water vapor passage, to include the matter in a key research task to see if it could be done.
After receiving the instruction, Gordenyi began to study it in depth and found that ideally, this solution was feasible, but after combining the actual relevant data, he found that even if we could make a big opening in the Himalayas, it would be difficult for water vapor to reach the northwest.
Eventually, Gao Dengyi directly pointed out in the conclusion of his study that water vapor has to travel a long distance before reaching the northwest, and even during the strongest period of the southwest monsoon, water vapor cannot reach the source of the three rivers in the Qinghai region.
Since then, no one in the scientific community has mentioned the use of this "odd method" to modify the climate of the Northwest.
So, is this method really the only reason why it cannot be implemented? What lies behind the inability of water vapor to reach the northwest?
It's easy to shake the mountains, but hard to shake the atmospheric circulation
In some people's view, this program is difficult to implement mainly because our "mountain bombing power" is not mature enough, if we can create a perfect gap, water vapor is certainly able to follow the monsoon to Xinjiang.
But is that really the case?
First let's get to know the Himalayas, the protagonists of the bombing. It is the highest mountain range in the world, with an average altitude of over 7,000 meters and a total length of up to 2,400 kilometers, separating the East Asian continent and the South Asian subcontinent by virtue of its own power.
There are many peaks in the Himalayas, of which the famous Mount Everest has always been a place that mankind aspires to conquer, and according to observation, Mount Everest has always been growing in size.
Due to its obstruction, the climate difference between the two sides of the mountain range is very pronounced.
In the southern foothills of the Himalayas, the average annual precipitation can reach about 11,000 mm, giving birth to a large number of rivers. The northwest of China, on the other hand, is located in the northern foothills, and the water vapor becomes weak after crossing the mountains with difficulty, resulting in an average annual precipitation of 200 to 500 mm in this area, and even around 50 mm in some areas, which is simply a jump drop.
According to the data, when the terrain rises by 1,000 meters, the temperature will drop by 6°C. The warm and humid airflow will form windward slope rainfall during the climbing process to the north.
Secondly, the water vapor in the atmosphere is not at our disposal, and the water vapor content per unit mass is governed by the Crabtree-Clausius equation.
One key factor in this equation is the temperature. If the temperature is not up to par, the amount of water vapor will be insufficient, which is why the global water vapor shows more tropics and less poles.
In that case, even if the water vapor enters smoothly and then passes through the blasted mountain pass, its content will be affected by the temperature.
Because according to the information, in order to reach the arid areas of the northwest, this moisture needs to go over layers of "mountains", including the Gondis Mountains, the Bayankara Mountains, the Kunlun Mountains and so on. So no matter how wet it is, after crossing the mountains will be "dried up", in this case, we bothered to blow a mouth will not help.
It is worth mentioning that after the conclusion of this proposal was made, there were still scientists who did further prediction studies. At that time, Zeng Qingcun and Zhao Sixiong, instructed the researchers under them to conduct data tests.
Eventually found that the opening of the channel can indeed make the ability to transport water vapor stronger, but the channel is not only one side of the "ventilation". Therefore, when the wet airflow from the south side of the Himalayas reaches the opening, it will meet with the dry air from the north, and then "fight" here, after the two defeats, the wet airflow will have less strength to climb the slope to the northwest.
Of course, if only this seemed harmless, the problem is that the study also shows that this practice causes the dry air to become stronger in the north, affecting the amount of moisture transported to the south, ultimately leading to less precipitation in the southeast.
If you look at it this way, half a day's work for nothing, not to say, may have to take some benefits into, is not desirable.
So, our dream of turning the northwest desert into the south of the border is really just dashed?
Not necessarily, in fact, people have been thinking of other ways, such as the much talked about "Red Flag River Project", the goal of the project is to transfer water from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to assist the Northwest.
Compared with the simple and brutal bombing of mountains, the Hongqi River Project mainly takes the water-rich rivers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as the basic water source, trying to let them enter the northwest region of China by way of bypassing, to achieve "full self-flow", then, the desert in the northwest can really become an oasis!