According to the National Climate Center, China may see more extreme weather events during this year’s rainy season, from May to September, than historical levels.
The NCC said conditions are expected to be generally normal to “relatively worse”, with more droughts and flooding in some areas.
Parts of the north could experience more intense rainfall, while parts of the east and southwest could see more droughts, according to the latest NCC forecast.
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The southern province of Guangdong has already recorded its heaviest rainfall in May since 2003. Twenty-one cities – 76% of the province – recorded more than 100mm of rainfall in 24 hours last week. Some 17 cities and counties across the province recorded extreme daily rainfall of more than 250mm. Schools and public transport have been suspended in major cities, including Guangzhou and Zhuhai.
Heavy rains also hit neighboring Guangxi Zhuang region last week, with more than 27,000 people in 22 counties affected. Some 2,400 hectares of crops were damaged and 238 people had to be relocated, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
China has seen an increase in extreme rainfall as well as heat waves over the past six decades due to the impact of the monsoon system and rising temperatures.
Last July, unprecedented heavy rains hit central China’s Henan Province, affecting more than 15 million people and leaving 398 dead or missing. Direct economic losses were estimated at 120 billion yuan ($17.7 billion).
This summer, the NCC forecast more rainfall in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River and along rivers in northern and northeast China compared to historical levels.
He said parts of eastern and central China and the Xinjiang region in the far west could experience extreme heat waves in the meantime.
Xiao Chan, deputy director of the NCC, said China is also expected to be hit by more typhoons during this year’s rainy season and they may even affect the north of the country.
“Typhoon activity is less frequent in the north and [the region] has relatively little experience dealing with typhoons,” Xiao said. China Weather News. “It is important to improve disaster defense capability and reduce adverse effects,” he added.
Climate change pushes China’s sea level to record high, study finds
Meanwhile, global temperatures continue to rise. The World Meteorological Organization said last week there was a 50% chance that average global temperatures would hit 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels at least once in the next five years.
The 1.5 degree Celsius threshold is the lower limit of the Paris Agreement, beyond which will lead to more frequent extreme weather and a continued rise in sea level.
China has warmed faster than the global average over the past century, according to Yan Zhongwei of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Yan said National Science Review in 2020 that the temperature rise was less than 1 degree Celsius globally over the last century, but for China it was 1.3 to 1.6 degrees Celsius.
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