China braces as temperatures climb

Hong Kong  | July 25, 2022

More than a dozen cities in China have issued red alerts, the strongest possible heat warning, so millions of people are preparing for even hotter weather this weekend.

In the next 24 hours, temperatures are predicted to exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in 19 cities in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian, according to China’s Meteorological Administration.

Orange alert, the second-highest heat warning that denotes temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius, is in effect for another 208 cities and counties around China (95 degrees Fahrenheit).

The provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, and a few of Anhui and Henan’s are included in this alert, along with other provinces in southern and eastern China.

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the “Great Heat,” which is often the hottest day of the year, falls on the same day as the heatwave.

China’s National Climate Center reports that the country has been experiencing record-breaking heat since June, with an average temperature of 22.1 degrees Celsius (nearly 72 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest since 1961.

At least 71 national weather stations in China have recorded record temperatures recently. Temperatures reached 44 degrees Celsius in three cities in the Hebei province in the center and one in the Yunnan province in the southwest (111 Fahrenheit).

The Central Meteorological Observatory of China has given advice to stay indoors during hot weather, cut back on work hours, and take preventative measures against heatstroke.

According to a 2020 Lancet report, heat wave-related mortality in China has drastically grown since 1990, reaching 26,800 deaths in 2019.

The Chinese government published a new policy paper earlier this year to strengthen its response to climate change, which it claimed was increasing the country’s vulnerability to “sudden and catastrophic” occurrences like heat waves, droughts, and flooding in addition to posing long-term issues.

The government stated in its national climate change adaptation policy that “Climate change has already brought major unfavorable impacts to China’s natural ecological system, and has continued to spread and infiltrate into business and society.”

By developing a national system to track and evaluate climate threats and enhancing early warning capabilities, it promised to transform China into a “climate-resilient society” by 2035.

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