Heat blankets northern China

June temperature records have been broken at 17 meteorological stations in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong.

On 22 June, the Central Meteorological Observatory issued its first orange high temperature alert of the year, meaning temperatures forecast of above 37C in the next 24 hours. But since then, some areas of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong have reached 40C – into the red alert range.

Beijing Municipal Meteorological Observatory indicated the captial reached 41.1C on the 22nd, breaking the June record. On the 23rd and 24th, it again exceeded 40C, the first time it has done so for three consecutive days since records began. Consequently, Beijing issued its first red high temperature alert since 2014, according to China News Agency.

Temperatures above 37C and 40C affected about 450,000 and 100,000 square kilometers respectively, Beijing News reported.

Zhang Fanghua, chief forecaster of the Central Meteorological Observatory, told People’s Daily Online that the heatwave was mainly due to a high pressure system causing clear skies and little rain.

Gao Hui, chief forecaster at the National Climate Center, said the frequency of extreme heat is increasing rapidly due to global warming. This round of northern heat “cannot simply be attributed to the influence of El Niño”, he added.

The National Meteorological Center predicts that the number of hot days in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region is expected to break the current June record of 12.1, which happened in 1972.

Zhang Tao, chief forecaster of the Central Meteorological Observatory, told Beijing Daily: “The northern region may see periodic high temperatures again throughout July, especially in the early and middle of this month.”

Read China Dialogue‘s recent analysis on heat waves in East Asia.