(Bloomberg) -- Record rains in China’s southern provinces have forced millions of people to relocate even as the country’s north experiences abnormally high temperatures, showing the dual impacts of climate change in the world’s second-biggest economy.
From May 1 to June 15, the average precipitation in Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi reached 621 millimeters, the highest recorded in six decades, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Floods occurred along 117 rivers in the Pearl River Basin during the same period. The manufacturing hub of Guangzhou saw its highest tide in a century last week, with waters exceeding 2.6 meters (8.5 feet).
Floods are a regular occurrence in China during the summer, especially in the low-lying areas along the Yangtze River and its tributaries. But they are set to become more extreme and frequent as the planet warms, according to China’s latest Blue Book on Climate Change.
Local authorities in provinces including Zhejiang, Guangxi, Jiangxi and Hubei on Monday issued at least 14 red rainstorm alerts — the most severe level. China’s National Climate Center forecasts that flooding this year will be “relatively worse” and “more extreme” compared with historical levels.
Meanwhile heat waves are striking the northern and central provinces with some regions experiencing average temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for days. Thermometers in almost half of all cities in Henan province, which is home to nearly 100 million people, reached 40°C last Thursday. More than 90 monitoring stations in the province recorded ground temperatures — which can be much higher because of concrete and asphalt pavements — that exceeded 60°C. Eight stations saw 70°C on the same day.
“Against the backdrop of climate change, the environments in which extreme weather events are happening are all changing to a different degree,” China Meteorological Administration spokesman Wang Zhihua said last summer after deadly floods that killed hundreds. “The new climate norm means that current record-setting events will become something that happens frequently.”
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