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Beijing roasts in record mid-June temperatures

BEIJING (AFP) – Temperatures in Beijing hit a record for mid-June of 39.4 degrees Celsius on Friday, China’s meteorological authority said, warning the public to stay indoors.

“At around 2:30 pm on June 16, the temperature at Beijing’s Nanjiao observatory hit 39.4 degrees Celsius, breaking the record high for mid-June,” the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) wrote in a social media post.

The CMA said the coming days would see temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius in Beijing, adding that “the public should reduce the duration of outdoor activity and beware of heatstroke”.

A man shelters under a towel during hot weather conditions in Beijing. PHOTO: AFP

Beijing is under an orange alert for high temperatures – the second-highest warning level. 

Eight provincial capitals across the country recorded their highest temperatures of the year on Thursday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Scientists say global warming is exacerbating adverse weather, with many countries experiencing deadly heatwaves and temperatures hitting records across Asia in recent weeks.

Multiple locations in Hebei province were under red alert – the highest – for temperatures over 40 degrees on Friday.

In the capital, road surface temperatures exceeded 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), “which can easily cause road damage, vehicle tyre blowout, spontaneous combustion and other traffic accidents”, city meteorologist Lei Lei told Xinhua.

Beijing’s previous record temperature for mid-June was 39.1 degrees on June 13, 2000, according to the CMA.

The Communist Party-run Beijing Daily advised readers on Friday to stay hydrated, suggesting the traditional sweet drink of mung bean soup or drinks containing electrolytes.

“Personnel working in high-temperature environments should shorten their periods of continuous work,” the newspaper added.

More than two million square kilometres across China have been hit by temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius this week, Xinhua said.

The eastern metropolis of Shanghai last month recorded its hottest May day in more than 100 years.

The same month, the United Nations (UN) warned it is near-certain that 2023-2027 will be the warmest five-year period ever recorded, as greenhouse gasses and the El Nino climate phenomenon combine to send temperatures soaring.

A recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that “every increment of global warming will intensify multiple and concurrent hazards”.

There is a two-thirds chance that at least one of the next five years will see the increase in global temperatures exceeding the more ambitious target set out in the Paris accords on limiting climate change, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

The 2015 Paris Agreement saw countries agree to cap global warming at “well below” two degrees Celsius above average levels measured between 1850 and 1900 – and 1.5C if possible.

The global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15C above the 1850-1900 average.