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China Told to Expect More Heatwaves, Extreme Weather in 2024

This year has seen China go from some of its hottest ever temperatures to a current cold snap and one of China’s top climate experts predicts more is to come

People wearing sun protection gear amid a heatwave walk on a street in Beijing, China July 1, 2023. Photo: Reuters
People wearing sun protection gear amid a heatwave walk on a street in Beijing, China, on July 1, 2023. Photo: Reuters


China has been warned to brace itself for another year of scorching heat and extreme weather in 2024 due to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Zhou Bing, China’s National Climate Center chief expert, issued the grim forecast as the country continues to grapple with one of its coldest Decembers on record.

This year has seen China lurch from some of its hottest temperatures logged since 1850 to a harsh cold snap that froze many parts of the country for close to a fortnight earlier this month.


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“2024 may be hotter and it could also be a year when extreme weather may become more frequent and powerful,” Zhou was quoted as saying in a report by state broadcaster CCTV.

This past summer saw Beijing bake in record heat while a remote township in the country’s arid northwest logged a day of 52 degrees Celsius (126 Fahrenheit) – the hottest on record for China. 

Typhoons also brought record-breaking rainfall in China’s north, causing widespread flooding.

El Nino refers to the climate phenomenon that occurs every two to seven years, where waters near the equator in the Pacific become warmer than normal leading to heavy rainfall, storms or droughts in some parts of the world.

This year’s El Nino began in June and has set new temperature highs around the world. Weather experts predict El Nino could fade between April and June next year, but as its effects take months to materialise, there could be more temperature records broken in 2024.


More Cold Waves in January

Zhao said extreme weather could “more pronounced” coming on the heels of El Nino.

The weather phenomenon typically brings warmer winters in China. But experts said that El Nino, combined with blasts of chilly winds from the Arctic earlier this month, had complicated forecasts, with a cold wave that shrunk the mercury to below minus 40 degree Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit) in some areas in China.

Extreme weather such as cold waves, high temperatures, heavy rains and sand storms have been frequent this year, with new records set for temperatures, rain and snow precipitation and other data in weather logs, Beijing News said.

China’s observatory called the weather pattern since mid-December “unusually complex”, with the circulation of chilly air persisting until the start of the new year.

China will experience another two less-intense cold waves in the coming week as temperatures gradually normalise, the country’s meteorological bureau said.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Typhoons, Floods, Heatwaves Cost China Economy $5.7bn in July

China Braces for Major Floods as Interior Wilts in Record Heat

China Adds Himalaya Peak Weather Station Amid Climate Concerns

China Wilts as Heatwave Hits Record 52C, Stressing Power Grid



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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