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China experiencing “worst heatwave in climatic history”

InternationalChina experiencing “worst heatwave in climatic history”

As a result of the heatwave and drought, industries have shut down, millions have lost power, and the depth of parts of the Yangtze River is at record-breaking lows.

by Khaila Gentle

BEIJING, China, Wed. Aug. 24, 2022

It has received minimal coverage by western media up until this week, but for the past seventy-four days, China has been gripped by what experts are calling the worst heatwave in global climatic history. As a result, the country is also experiencing a severe drought which has led to the water level of the Yangtze River—the third largest river in the world—reaching never-before-seen lows.

It is the longest heatwave on record for China since record-keeping began in 1961 and has impacted up to 600 million people. One report by Bloomberg News says that several factories have been shut down as the heat continues to put a strain on energy grids. As a result, China’s economy, already made fragile by frequent COVID lockdowns and a property crisis, has taken a massive hit.

In Sichuan, large numbers of residents have taken refuge from scorching temperatures in air-raid shelters. The province, reports Bloomberg, is the hardest hit by the drought due to its high dependence on hydropower—China’s largest source of clean energy. While the heat has increased energy demand by over a quarter, the decrease in water levels has reduced dam generation by half.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), China’s heatwave this summer has broken “all records”. This week alone, more than 240 cities have forecasted temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).

According to a report by The Guardian, local authorities have been urged by the Government to take all available measures to ensure that crops survive the extreme heat.

China is not the only place contending with record-breaking climate-change-induced events. Just this week, the European Drought Observatory (EDO) reported that Europe is currently experiencing the worst drought seen in the region in 500 years.

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