Disasters & Accidents

China suffering through most intense and longest heat wave in 60 years

Beijing, Aug 15 (EFE).- The Chinese Weather Administration issued a red alert due to high temperatures for Monday, when parts of up to 11 provinces and regions could see the thermometer rise above 40 C (104 F) amid a heat wave that experts are describing as the “longest and most intense” in 60 years, local media reported.

The weather service said that temperatures in excess of 40 C will be registered at various points around the country, but mainly in the central provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi.

The alert issued on Monday marks the 26th consecutive day of high-temperature alerts in the Asian giant, a situation that has alarmed various experts such as Sun Shao, a researcher with the Chinese Weather Administration, who told the Global Times that “This heat wave is the most intense and longest since official records began to be kept in 1961.”

Sun said that the length of this heat wave has already exceeded the one lasting 62 days that was experienced in China in 2013.

In addition, this year’s heat wave “began (earlier in the year)” than the one in 2013, said Sun, adding that thus the heat could last for a week longer.

These periods of intense heat could become the “new normal” in the Asian country due to “the effects of climate change,” according to Chen Lijuan, an expert with the National Weather Center cited in local media, who added: “The high temperatures are starting earlier and earlier, are ending later and are lasting for longer. This will become more and more obvious in the future.”

The heat also brings with it an increase in demand for electricity. In the Shanghai metropolis, for instance, record temperatures have been experienced in recent weeks and an interannual electricity demand increase of 38.41 percent was registered in July followed by a 40.2 percent increase in the first week of August.

Certain energy restrictions already prevail in the provinces that have been hardest hit by the heat wave, including Zhejiang, where energy use by certain industries has been limited, along with air conditioning in movie theaters, local media have reported.

Last year, when the central province of Henan registered rainfall levels higher than had been experienced in decades and which resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people, local experts attributed the unusual situation to the effects of climate change.

Song Lianchun, a meteorologist with the National Weather Center, said at the time: “We can’t say that an extreme weather event is directly caused by climate change but, over the long term, global warming is causing an increase in the intensity and frequency of such events.”

EFE aa/lcl/gcf/bp

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