xi's moments

Don't be depressed: Gloom has its charm in the Yangtze Delta region

By Cao Chen in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-11 09:01

Visitors stand in the rain at the Bund, a major scenic spot on the Huangpu River, in Shanghai on Jan 9, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

Wet and overcast weather will continue to dominate the Yangtze River Delta region, much to the dismay of residents, who have experienced a record low number of sunny hours since the start of winter in early December.

"Please get out and do your job now, sun! We need you more than ever," a Shanghai citizen said in a comment on the city's weather forecast on Shanghai Fabu, the social media account of the municipal government. The forecast warns people to expect rainy weather for at least another week.

Many residents of the region have felt their mood change with day after day of no sunshine - only cold weather, rain and overcast skies.

"Constant rain makes me feel depressed. I have less energy for work and want to sleep more than usual," said Zhu Ning of Shanghai.

Tan Zhonglin, deputy director of the department specializing in depression at Hangzhou No 7 People's Hospital, told Zhejiang Television about the connection between depression and sunlight.

"Light exerts powerful biological effects and affects mood through a direct pathway from the visual system to the human brain," Tan said. "Darkness and cold weather can make some people feel depressed."

At the hospital, 10 percent of 28,000 visits involving depression last year were related to winter weather.

Tan suggests brighter indoor lighting, more indoor exercise and proper room temperature to combat the problem.

"Wearing clothes with brighter colors also helps," he said.

The most important thing is to maintain a good attitude about the weather, like other difficulties in life, said Wang Jing, a 73-year-old from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, who has lived in Shanghai for 20 years.

"The monsoon season in Shanghai is from late May to early July, when there is abundant rainfall and muggy weather for a long time. Compared with that period, the overcast warm winter is lovely," Wang said.

Li Yongpeng, another 73-year-old from Shanghai, also enjoys the rainy winter. "While it pours, I can make myself a cup of hot tea, read a book comfortably by the door with a view of rain drops or step outside with friends," said Li. "Anyway, southern cities along the Yangtze River will not be perfect without rain. Rainy and wet days are typical here."

Gloomy weather is expected across the region, making this winter an unusually sunless season.

Shanghai experienced less than two hours of sunlight in the first nine days of 2019, the city's weather authority said on Thursday. Six meteorological stations in the districts of Xuhui, Qingpu, Minhang, Songjiang, Fengxian and Pudong New Area, have recorded hardly any sunshine, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. Chongming Island was the most blessed, receiving 3.4 hours in the period.

In December, the city was awash in drizzles for the whole month, receiving 137.9 millimeters of precipitation, more than triple the annual average of the period and the third-highest since 1873, when the city started keeping meteorological records.

Weather in Shanghai's neighboring Zhejiang province has been no less soggy. The province received a total of 45 sunny hours from Dec 1 to Jan 6, the lowest mark for sunshine hours in the period since 1952, according to the province's weather authority.

People in southern Jiangsu province also experienced sleet or snow on Jan 9, when a blizzard warning was issued for the province by the China Meteorological Administration.

According to Zhang Ruiyi, chief service officer at the Shanghai bureau, a lack of cold fronts from the north is to blame for the constant rain in cities of the Yangtze Delta region. Fronts are typical for the season and disperse the warm, moist air responsible for rain.

It is estimated that the next 10 days will bring more rain to Shanghai, with an obvious increase in precipitation on Friday, Zhang said. "It will turn cloudy around next Thursday with the arrival of a cold front."

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