CHINA: Beijing surpassed 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) on Saturday for a record third day as the Chinese city sweltered in excessive heat while exceptionally high temperatures for June broiled a region the size of California in northern China.
The benchmark weather station for Beijing’s southern suburbs recorded a brief rise in temperature above 40 °C at 1:51 p.m. (0551 GMT).
Until Saturday, the city of over 22 million people had never documented three straight days above 40 C since building up the southern observatory in 1951.
Besides Beijing, parts of the adjacent provinces of Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, and Tianjin either boosted or kept their hot weather alert at “red,” the top level in China’s four-tier warning system.
A red signal suggests the temperature could rise to 40 °C in the next 24 hours. Local media reported that as of 1:13 p.m., temperatures had exceeded 37 °C in an area of 450,000 square kilometres (174,000 square miles).
The heatwave of last summer “gives some sense of the risks to China’s food supply and the potential impact on prices,” reads a Capital Economics note from Friday.
“Another drought would hurt crop yields while livestock is vulnerable to high temperatures,” the note further read.
In parts of Shandong, China’s second-most populous province after Guangdong and a significant grain producer, ground surface temperatures on Saturday exceeded 70 degrees Celsius, according to state media.
The heatwaves, which were the second in around 10 days, were brought on by warm air masses connected to high-pressure ridges in the atmosphere. Chinese meteorologists claim that the effect was accentuated by the summer solstice’s lengthy sunshine hours and little cloud cover.
A Beijing news portal reported, citing official data, that between 1990 and 2020, the average number of days in Beijing with temperatures of 35 °C or more was 10.6.
The publication reported that even though June hasn’t ended, that number has already been surpassed as Beijing recorded temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius on Saturday for the 11th time this year.
After sweltering at 41.1 °C on Thursday, the second-hottest day the Chinese city has ever experienced, Beijing roasted in temperatures as high as 40.3 °C on Friday. On July 24, 1999, Beijing had an all-time high temperature of 41.9 °C.
By Monday, it is anticipated that the heat waves in northern China will abate before retaining strength later in the week.