zud snowy winter

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zud dzud (зуд) snowy winter

***** Location: Mongolia
***** Season: Winter
***** Category: Season


a Mongolian term for an extremely snowy winter in which livestock are unable to find foodstuff through the snow cover, and large numbers of animals die due to starvation and the cold. The term is also used for other meteorological conditions, especially in winter, that make livestock grazing impossible.

Locals differentiate between black, white, cold, and iron/ice zuds.
The black zud (har zud) consists of a lack of snowfall combined with freezing temperatures, which causes drought. The white zud (tsagaan zud) is caused by very heavy snow fall, which makes it impossible for the livestock to feed on the otherwise accessible frozen grass, causing famine. The cold zud (khuiten zud) occurs when the temperature gets extremely low for consecutive days, so that animals must conserve body temperature instead of grazing freely. The iron zud (temur zud) is brought about by rain which freezes and covers the land in ice hindering the animals from feeding on grass or herbs. Some also refer to a storm zud (shuurgan zud), in which snowstorms of high winds and drifts are dangerous for herds.

The economy of Mongolia has long been heavily dependent on pastoral farming, and harsh zuds can cause economic crises and food security issues in the country.

It is not uncommon for zuds to kill over 1 million head of livestock in a winter. The 1944 record of almost 7 million head of livestock lost was shattered in the 21st century. Of note, the arctic oscillation in both 1944-45 and in 2010 was pushed much deeper into Central Asia bringing prolonged extreme cold weather. In 1999/2000, 2000/2001 and 2001/2002, Mongolia was hit by three zuds in a row, in which a combined number of 11 million animals were lost.

In winter 2009-2010 80% of the country's territory was covered with a snow blanket of 200-600mm.In the Uvs aimag, extreme cold (night temperature of −48°C / -54°F) remained for almost 50 days. 9,000 families lost their entire herds while a further 33,000 suffered 50% loss.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry reported 2,127,393 head of livestock were lost as of February 9, 2010 (188,270 horse, cattle, camel and 1,939,123 goat and sheep). The agriculture ministry predicted that livestock losses might reach 4 million before the end of winter. But by May 2010, the United Nations reported that eight million, or about 17% of the country's entire livestock, had died.
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Things found on the way


winter solstice...
sun of a dzud year
rises brightly

- Shared by Zaya Nergui -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013

Related words

***** . WKD : The Season of Winter .



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