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Climate change making China's summer hotter

By LI HONGYANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-04 09:18

Visitors brave scorching heat at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing on July 31, 2022. [Photo/IC]

Global warming continues to make China hotter and wetter, experts and the latest Blue Book on Climate Change in China said on Wednesday.

Xiao Chan, deputy director of the National Climate Center, said at a news conference that so far this year, the high-temperature comprehensive intensity is the third strongest since 1961, weaker only to 2013 and 2017.

The intensity is assessed by average temperature, influence range and duration.

He said that in August in most parts of China it is expected to be 1 C to 2 C higher than normal and rainfall will be 20 to 50 percent more than normal.

The deadly scorching heat wave that started in mid-June has affected over 900 million people, according to the center.

Zhejiang province and Shanghai experienced record-high electricity consumption and many people in Jiangsu, Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces were diagnosed with severe heatstroke.

Rain plus high temperatures around 35 C that triggered meteorological warnings have made Beijing feel like a food steamer. The local weather service warned that residents should avoid staying outdoors for a long time. Tourists and street cleaners have been seen resting in the underground subway tunnels in the city recently.

Risks linked to extreme weather events are increasing as the global climate gets warmer, according to the Blue Book on Climate Change in China released on Wednesday.

Last year, the global average temperature was 1.11 C higher than the average between 1850 and 1900, ranking among the seven hottest years since meteorological records began to be kept, it said.

The book has been published annually by the China Meteorological Administration since 2011.

"Extreme weather events including torrential rains and scorching temperatures have occurred more frequently as climatic risks are rising," said Yuan Jiashuang, deputy director of the National Climate Center and the book's associate editor.

"China, which is vulnerable to climate change, has experienced a faster temperature rise than the global average."

Last year, the average surface temperature in China was 0.97 C higher than normal, the highest since 1901.

In response to the warmer climate, the country's precipitation showed an upward trend last year, 6.7 percent higher than normal, the book said.

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau saw particularly significant increases in precipitation, it said.

The water level of Qinghai Lake has been rising for 17 consecutive years, reaching about 3,200 meters above sea level, exceeding the level in the early 1960s, it said.

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