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05 December 2010

Asia Update #6

A quiet week across Asia. In the southeastern part of the continent, another wet week, but mainly along the Thailand/Malaysia border and parts of Indonesia and Vietnam. In the west, Turkey remains abnormally dry as well as other countries in northern parts of the Middle East, but relief may be on the way. Cold temperatures are settling in across Afghanistan, a good sign of things to come.

Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam have received another round of heavy, possibly flooding rains. Another round of heavy rainfall is expected over many of the areas that have been pounded during the last week. This is one of the wettest places on Earth, and this season is going to be much wetter than normal. In Vietnam, which has been hit particularly hard over the last few months, rainfall should moderate during the next seven days.

In the Middle East, on going dryness, centered on Turkey and extending into both Europe and Asia, has allowed temperatures to surge well above normal. The hot, dry weather accelerates evaporation reducing the amount of water available. We should be heading into the wet season, with just under half of all days being labeled 'rain days', but instead after a good October, November and the first week of December have looked more like the dry season. The coming week could bring some relief with moderate rainfall expected over Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria. More rainfall is possible in mid December, although there are a lot of variables involved. Either way, it does look like the current dryness, being caused by something known as a "blocking pattern", is just beginning to breakdown.

Cold temperatures continue to surge southward across the former Soviet republics as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Cold temperatures and snow are critical in the winter months because it allows the build up of a large snow pack. This large snow pack is then slowly melted in the spring and provides water for drinking, crops and livestock. The Spring starts off the dry season, so it critical that temperatures be cold enough to support snow and warm up at the right time. Currently, no precipitation is expected in the short-term. However it is still early in the season and even distribution of precipitation is not important. What is important is that sufficient snow builds up, and that it is not melted until Spring.

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