Hotter, Longer and More Widespread Heat Waves Scorch China

BEIJING — In western China, runoff from melting glaciers could flood dams, officials warn. In the southern capital of Guangzhou, the government has require residents to use less large appliances thus, the grid was not overwhelmed as the city faced its longest heat wave since 1951. In the coastal city of Fuzhou, temperatures exceeded 41 degrees Celsius, or nearly 106 degrees Fahrenheit, during unprecedented three consecutive days, state media reported.

More than 900 million Chinese, about 65% of the population, are living under some form of heat warning. Temperatures have reached or exceeded recent highs that have plagued parts of Europe and the United States. Between June and mid-July, officials across the country issued more than 15,000 high-temperature warnings, including more than 2,000 predicting temperatures to exceed 104 degrees, according to the state press. Seventy-one weather stations have recorded their highest temperatures ever.

China has long suffered from extreme summer weather, with heat waves accompanied by intense flooding. But the severity of these events has increased in recent years as a result of global warming. Officials say the heat this year is likely to be more intense and last longer. It is expected to last until at least the end of the month.

“The affected area is huge, time will continue to drag, and extremism is strong,” said Xinhua, the state news agency. speak.

As in other parts of the world, people were hit hardest, including the poor and the elderly. Several heat-related deaths have been recorded, some of them construction or factory workers. Social media videos have shown frontline medical staffin full-body protective gear as China continues to try to eliminate the coronavirus, which is overwhelmed by high temperatures.

The number of heat-related deaths in China more than quadrupled between 1990 and 2019, to 26,800 in 2019. base on the research published in the medical journal The Lancet. Researchers predicted that the number could more than double if global temperatures were to increase by 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, noting that China’s rapidly aging population would be at particularly serious risk.

Some of the highest temperatures have recently been recorded in southeastern China, in the coastal province of Zhejiang. On Tuesday, the temperature in one city there, Lishui, reached nearly 108 degrees. A Zhejiang hospital told reporters from the state media that it received heat stroke patients daily. At least one man, a factory worker, died earlier this month after suffering multiple organ failure.

But most of the country was roasted. In the remote Xinjiang region, local officials warning last week that the melting of snow and ice from mountainous areas would increase the risk of dam failure and it has caused flash floods and landslides. Earlier this month, an official with the National Meteorological Center said that the heat can remove moisture from the soil in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, affecting corn and cotton harvests, and damaging rice harvests in the Yangtze River basin.

Shanghai, home to 26 million people, hit a temperature of nearly 106 degrees this month, marking the hottest day since record-keeping began in 1873.

Photo from the zoo in Guangzhou shows a panda resting on a giant slab of ice and several elephants perched on top of their rock formations.

Only two provinces of Heilongjiang and Liaoning, both in the far northeast, have yet to issue heat warnings.

One The heat wave has scorched parts of northern China In June, massive floods forced millions of people in the central and southwestern parts of the country to evacuate. The temperature has decreased slightly, only returning to the south in recent weeks.

Liu Yi contribution research.

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