With many regions in China scorched by their worst heatwaves in decades, Chinese authorities are beefing up efforts to ease the impact of the broiling summer heat.
The country experienced four regional heatwaves last month, which arrived earlier and were more widespread and extreme than in previous years, meteorologists said.
In the heavily-populated northern areas, the heatwaves over the past few weeks engulfed areas stretching from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Hebei Province to the western part of Liaoning Province.
The country’s capital Beijing has seen temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius in recent weeks, registering its highest temperatures for this time of the year since 1961, according to the National Meteorological Center.
A total of 214 national level weather stations, including some in Beijing and the neighboring province of Hebei, registered the hottest temperature for June ever recorded, according to the National Climate Center (NCC).
On Friday, the national observatory continued to issue an alert for high temperatures, with temperatures in parts of Fujian Province and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region likely to exceed 40 degrees Celsius. As of Friday, the observatory had issued high temperature alerts 46 times this year.
Meteorologists have warned that the heatwaves are expected to continue next month, with temperatures in Beijing as well as parts of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces forecast to be one or two degrees Celsius higher than their average levels.
NCC chief forecaster Gao Hui said multiple factors, such as global warming and increasing human activities, have caused more hot days in north China, while adding that the onset of El Nino also contributed to the situation.
On July 4, the World Meteorological Organization warned that record high temperatures and more extreme heat scenarios are likely in many parts of the world after the El Nino weather condition emerged in the tropical Pacific for the first time in seven years, and there is a 90-percent probability of the El Nino event continuing during the second half of 2023.
To minimize the impact of the blistering heat, Chinese authorities suggested that outdoor activities be suspended when temperatures run high, advised local authorities in affected areas to launch artificial rainfall when appropriate and called for local residents to take precautions to prevent heatstroke.
The central government dispatched expert teams to rural areas to help guide agricultural production. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said since late June, a period critical for early-season rice planting, it has dispatched six teams to assist with early-season rice production in the country’s major production bases.
The persistent heatwaves have also put stress on the country’s power grids as demand for air-conditioning surged.
The National Energy Administration (NEA) last month staged a power emergency drill on the State Grid’s East China network, simulating a power surge and outage to prepare for early warning and power management mechanisms, as well as cross-region power supply.
The East China power network, which serves the country’s east coast region including economically-key cities such as Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou, expects a peak load of 397.25 million kilowatts this summer.
The NEA also urged electricity generation companies to secure coal and natural gas supplies and ensure orderly operation of power generation equipment amid efforts to ensure electricity supply.
To avoid work safety accidents during extreme weather conditions, the Ministry of Emergency Management has sent 10 inspection teams to 32 major companies dealing with hazardous chemicals to identify and reduce potential risks.
Source: Xinhua Editor: Wang Qingchu