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A~probe into the different fates of locust swarms in the plains of North America and East Asia

Author(s): G. Yu | D. Johnson | X. Ke | Y. Li

Journal: Biogeosciences Discussions
ISSN 1810-6277

Volume: 9;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 11179;
Date: 2012;
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Locust swarms had periodically raged in both North American Plains (NAP) and East Asian Plains (EAP) before 1880 AD. After this period, the locust outbreaks almost never recurred in NAP but have continued to occur in EAP. Since large quantities of pesticides were used in the major agriculture regions of NAP in the late 1870s; this has been suggested as a possible major cause of the disappearing of locust outbreaks. Extensive applications of more effective chemical pesticides were also used in the granary regions of EAP in the 1950s in an effort to kill the pests at a much higher intensity. However, locust swarms came back again in many areas of China in the 1960s. Therefore, NAP locust extinction still remains a puzzle. Frequent locust outbreaks in EAP over the past 130 yr may offer clues to probe key control elements in the disappearing of locust outbreaks in NAP. This paper analyzes the climate extremes and monthly temperature-precipitation combines of NAP and EAP, and found the differences in their frequencies of these climate combines caused different locust fates in the two regions: restrained the locust outbreak in NAP but induced such events in EAP. Validation shows that severer EAP locust outbreak years were coincided with the climate extreme combines years. Thus we suggest that climate changes in frequency, extremes and trends can explain why the fate of the locust plague in EAP was different from that in NAP. The study also points out that, under the present global warming, cautions should be taken to make sure the pest hazard being nipped in the-bud.

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