There is no doubt that people are already living in a time of global warming – everywhere, including China. In Shanghai, we experienced 49 days of so-called high temperature days (over 35°C) in the last two months. Officially, 7 days above 40 °C were recorded. The last time Shanghai was this hot was 150 years ago. Also, keep in mind that Shanghai is a humid city and 40°C can feel more than 50°C. What comes with this extreme heat is a drought in the city. It often seems strange to most Shanghainese because in the years before 2022, no matter how hot the city was, it always rained. June and July are the “Monsoon Season” in most east coast cities. It is called “plum rainy season” because humidity, heat and rain are perfect weather for plums and all 3 ingredients are important elements of the weather during these two months. In hot August, several typhoons usually arrive from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in heavy rain and thunderstorms. But this year is different. The monthly Plum Rainy Season was shortened to a few days with scanty rains; Even the 2 typhoons that hit Shanghai had little effect.
What is happening in Shanghai is not the worst case of global warming in China. Shanghai is a flat city without mountains or forests; it is a city of economy with all the natural resources supported from all parts of the country. Heat from the human experience may be our only complaint, and every home has at least one air conditioner. But those living in the interior provinces and heavily dependent on natural resources are not so lucky.
Jiangnan, Jianghuai, Jianghan and Sichuan and Chongqing are the places that experience the worst hot and dry months. The Yangtze River drought is extremely worrying in terms of its disastrous impact on agriculture and farming. The Yangtze River is commonly referred to as the mother river of China because its river has been used in China for water, irrigation, sewage, transportation and many other industries. The total area of the Yangtze Delta is 20% of China’s GDP.
Precipitation in the Yangtze River Basin decreased significantly between July and August, with July’s average precipitation reaching 141.2 mm, 48.2% less than the same period of the year, the lowest on record since 1961. Since August, the cumulative precipitation is less than 10 mm in Jiangnan, Jianghan and the eastern part of the southwest, and an unusually persistent high-intensity heat drought has rapidly developed. On August 19c, a satellite showed that the Yangtze River Basin – Poyang Lake and Dongting Lake have shrunk by 3/4 of the water surface compared to the beginning of June this year. The water level of Poyang Lake had already dropped to 11.99m in early August, which means it has entered the dry season 100 days earlier. So far, the middle and upper arid area in the Yangtze River Basin has reached 1,267 million square kilometers, of which 89,000 square kilometers are extreme droughts. 12.32 million hectares of land, 830,000 people, 160,000 livestock were affected by drought and drought and lack of water supply in Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui provinces.
The drought led to a lack of water supplies, which in turn led to government restrictions on electricity and water supplies in Sichuan and Chongqing, the two most affected provinces and cities. On August 14cEconomic and Information Administration of Sichuan Province and State Grid Sichuan Electric Power Company jointly Regarding Extension of Industrial Establishments for Public Application of Emergency AlertFrom August 15, all industrial enterprises are required to stop full capacity and productionc Up to 20c. Chongqing, known as one of China’s four furnaces, has similar policies. Even worse than Sichuan since August 17th, 14 mountain forest fires broke out in Fuling, Jiangjin, Banan and other districts of Chongqing, affecting 10 districts and counties. Smoke can be seen billowing from the city center. The city has mobilized more than 5,000 professional rescue teams, forest firefighters, armed police forces, firefighters and resident volunteers to try to put out the fire. More than 1,000 forest firefighting teams from Gansu, Sichuan, Yunnan and other provinces have also arrived to support Chongqing. The City Emergency Situations Bureau of the Air Rescue Headquarters used 7 helicopters to extinguish the fire. By August 26, the city was finally able to extinguish all open fires.
As you can imagine, extreme drought and heat also damage agriculture and aquaculture. In August, the growth of rice, corn and other autumn food crops in south-central Anhui, western and southern Hubei, northern Jiangxi and eastern Sichuan basin was greatly affected by drought to varying degrees. Fruit farmers are also having the worst time of all time. In the Jiangnan region, sunlight caused sunburn of fruit trees. With the naked eye, you can see that all the leaves have dried up from the heat, and the fruits have fallen long before the ripening season. If the creatures on earth cannot survive the drought, the fate of those living in the water is of course dire. In Wuhan, the world’s first Covid city, there is a big problem in aquaculture. As the water temperature rises, warm water passes the critical temperature for survival of fish, shrimp and crabs. The heat also removes oxygen from the water, which is essential for living organisms. With high water temperatures and reduced water body dissolved oxygen levels, many fishponds experience hypoxic flooding, so fishermen suffer economically. It is now near the end of August. In these two days, the heat stopped in Shanghai and most other cities. Autumn has finally arrived. But the memory of extreme heat is still close, and this means that winter will not be easy for people. Extreme cold is usually accompanied by extreme heat. Ten years ago, many people, including the Chinese, still thought that global warming might be a problem for future generations, but now the reality has hit us all hard. What should we do? How soon should we take action? These are questions that Chinese governments must answer.