A SCIENTIST ATTACHED TO CHINA’S Meteorological Administration, has said that the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) on the Yangtze river will create a reservoir large enough to raise temperatures and force crop changes in nearby areas.

The meteorologist predicted that temperatures around the reservoir site in central China could rise by an average of 1? after the dam’s completion in 2009.

Computer simulations show the 644km long body of water will be big enough to alter wind patterns, increase humidity, and reflect more sunlight. The reservoir is to be filled by stages starting in June 2003.

Meanwhile, an expert group has observed cracks in the concrete at the dam. Qian Zhengying, the former minister of water resources who heads the group, requested repairs to the cracks to be expedited after returning from a week-long inspection of the project. The cracks, according to China Daily, measure a maximum 1.25mm across and 2.5m deep. The newspaper said cracks had also been found in the project’s permanent ship-locks and ship-lifts.