Extreme Weather in China Highlights Climate Change Impacts and Need for Early Warnings

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

Extreme weather – record-breaking heatwaves, severe drought, and deadly rainfall – have battered China since June. The summer of extremes – in China as in Europe – has underlined the importance of the WMO community’s commitment to Early Warning and Early Action and reinforced the need for the ongoing campaign to provide Early Warnings for All in the next five years.

The high socio-economic and environmental cost of the extreme weather has also highlighted the vulnerability of the world’s most populous nation to climate change impacts and the need for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The weather and climate situation in China is severe and complex. Extreme temperature and drought in the South and high precipitation in the North. The superimposed situation of drought and flood has brought challenges to disaster prevention, mitigation and relief work,” said WMO Assistant Secretary-General Dr Wenjian Zhang. “We are clearly witnessing the impacts of climate change.”


In terms of the intensity, impacts, scale, and duration, the regional heatwave in southern China which started 13 June was the strongest since complete meteorological observation records started in 1961, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

By 15 August, the heatwave broke the 2013 record of 62 days. National Meteorological Center (NMC) of China has issued 30 Red high temperature red warnings.

Official climate forecasters predict the current heatwave will only begin to subside on August 26.

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

More than 200 national observatories broke through the historical extreme value of the highest temperature.

Some 1.680 meteorological observatories have had of above 35℃ – covering an area of ​​4.5 million square kilometers in China or almost half of the country’s total land area. The incidence of temperatures of above 40℃ has been the largest on record.

A total of 914 national meteorological observatories (accounting for 37.7 percent of the total number of national meteorological observatories in China) have reached the standard for extreme heat wave events, and 262 of them in Hebei, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Qinghai and other places equaled or exceeded the historical maximum temperature records.

Source: WMO