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Heat wave in southern China breaking records

By LI HONGYANG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-02 09:03
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A scenic spot in Chongqing offers ice-bucket mahjong to beat the scorching summer heat. [Photo by Yang Xiaoyong/For]

Southern China has been experiencing a scorching heat wave with record-breaking temperatures, the national weather service said.

Since May 26, regions including Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan and Guangdong provinces have seen temperatures over 35 C, while temperatures in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces have surpassed 40 C.

Chen Tao, chief forecaster at the National Meteorological Center, said that Typhoon Mawar is a major cause of the heat wave.

As the typhoon moves, the subtropical high pressure system has strengthened and expanded its impact area, eventually controlling temperatures in much of the region south of the Yangtze River, he said.

It is expected that the heat wave will last until Monday, the center said.

The water level at the Chenglingji Station at Dongting Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in China, was recorded at 23.33 meters, about 3.6 meters lower than the average level for this time of year. It also marks the lowest water level ever for the lake during this time.

Despite being one of the southern provinces with abundant precipitation, Hunan province has been experiencing a shortage of rainfall this year. According to meteorological and hydrological departments, as of Wednesday the accumulated precipitation in the province was just 563 millimeters, 11.6 percent lower than average for the same period in previous years.

In a news release on May 3, the World Meteorological Organization said the likelihood of an El Nino occurring in the second half of the year is increasing, and the event would fuel high temperatures globally.

El Nino is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon that starts with unusually warm surface water in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, which then affects weather worldwide. It occurs on average every two to seven years, and one episode typically lasts nine to 12 months, the WMO said.

Various analyses suggest that 2023 or 2024 will very likely set a record for the warmest year globally, the National Climate Center said.

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