Chinese cities hit record high temperatures for early March
Temperatures in more than a dozen Chinese cities have hit record seasonal highs this week, with central China’s Wuhan and Zhengzhou more than 10C hotter than average for early March, official data showed.
Wuhan, located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze river, registered temperatures of 26C on Monday, 12 degrees higher than the long-term early March average, while Beijing and surrounding cities also saw temperatures reach 25C earlier this week.
China experienced months of extreme heat last year, with 267 weather stations breaking records, measuring temperatures in excess of 40 degrees during a 70-day summer drought that hit the entire Yangtze river basin, triggering fires and damaging crops.
The country’s weather bureau warned that 2023 would be another year of extreme weather as a result of global climate change.
The south-western province of Yunnan, a major hydropower base, is in the middle of a prolonged drought forecast to last into April, with average rainfall more than 60% lower than usual since November last year.
The Poyang, China’s biggest freshwater lake and a major flood outlet for the Yangtze, has also failed to recover from last year’s drought, with water levels on Monday falling close to their record low, according to state media.
Chinese weather officials said at a routine monthly press briefing last week that average temperatures for the whole of February were 1.6C higher than normal, with average rainfall also 3.9% lower than the average.
Changing weather patterns also mean that spring has come early to many regions south of the Yangtze river, in some cases as many as 20 days earlier than normal, said Gao Rong, vice director of the National Meteorological Centre.
Low pressure conditions this week have also contributed to smog buildups throughout the pollution-prone region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei in northern China, where heavy industrial activities have been ramped up.