China Logs Hottest Ever Year in 2023
China’s average temperature in 2023 was the highest since 1961, when reliable meteorological data became available, with 13 regions, including Beijing, recording all-time highs, the National Climate Center announced Wednesday.
The average temperature of 10.7 degrees Celsius was 0.8 degrees Celsius higher than normal and 0.2 degrees Celsius higher than the previous record set in 2021.
Most parts of the country were 0.5 to 1 degrees Celsius warmer than average.
China saw record heat last summer and fall. Residents in Beijing experienced one of their hottest summers ever, with a record-breaking 28 days where temperatures reached 35 degrees Celsius and above.
An all-time high temperature in China of 52.2 degrees Celsius was recorded in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on July 16.
Zhou Bing, chief expert at the National Climate Center, has warned of even higher temperatures and more extreme weather in 2024 as the impact of El Niño — the unusual warming of surface water in the eastern Pacific Ocean — on global temperatures is more pronounced in the year after its development.
The latest El Niño phase began in summer last year, and the Center predicted that it will last until spring 2024, with warnings of increased risk of extreme weather in several regions this winter.
China generally experiences warmer winters with more frequent cold waves in El Niño years, making temperature fluctuations more prominent.
In December, a record cold wave brought blizzards and plummeting temperatures to residents in northern China, including the longest streak of low temperatures in 72 years in Beijing.
According to researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the cold wave was a once-in-a-century event, with a difference of up to 11 degrees Celsius between actual and average temperatures in some parts of the country.
“Although this extreme cold event was widespread and long-lasting, it would have been even colder without the influence of human activities,” researcher Qian Cheng told Shanghai news outlet The Paper.
Editor: Vincent Chow.
(Header image: A man shields from the sun in Chongqing, June 25, 2023. Chen Chao/CNS/IC)