Shanghai sets new all-time record (again) as heat wave bakes eastern China

From Washington Post : While the eastern U.S. and Canada have recently seen below-normal temperatures, a major summer heat wave has been the story in eastern China since early July.

Shanghai saw its hottest July in 140 years as temperatures soared to 100ºF or higher for 10 straight days between July 23 and August 1. The coastal city reached 95ºF (35ºC) or higher on 25 days last month, 14 of which exceeded 100ºF (37.8ºC).

This week, Shanghai eclipsed its all-time record high temperature set barely two weeks ago. The Shanghai Daily reports that the city’s meteorological bureau recorded a temperature of 105.4ºF (40.8ºC) on August 7, which breaks the previous record of 105.1º (40.6ºC) from both July 26 and August 6, 2013.  Prior to this year, the all-time high at Shanghai’s Xujiahui weather observatory was 104.4ºF set in 1934.

High humidity and trapped urban heat have also kept overnight temperatures several degrees above normal. On July 29, Shanghai only dropped to 88ºF (31ºC). Normal high and low temperatures in the metropolis are about 91 and 78 degrees, respectively, this time of year.

The ongoing heat wave in eastern China has caused at least 10 deathsdepleted water resources, and strained regional power grids.

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, a child demonstrates how raw shrimp and an egg are fried in a pan on a manhole cover on a hot summer day in Jinan in east China's Shandong province. (AP Photo/CHINA OUT)

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, a child demonstrates how raw shrimp and an egg are fried in a pan on a manhole cover on a hot summer day in Jinan in east China’s Shandong province. (AP Photo/CHINA OUT)

Other major cities in eastern and southern China have been as hot, if not hotter, than Shanghai. The Global Times reports that China’s National Meteorological Center issued a red temperature alert – its highest-level heat warning – for the 14th straight day.

High temperatures on August 7 broke records at 130 weather stations across the country, and 30 stations measured their all-time highest temperatures on record this year.

Last week, Weather Underground’s Christopher Burt wrote that Ningbo City, south of Shanghai, reached 108.9ºF (42.7ºC) on July 26 – the warmest temperature ever measured along China’s eastern or southeastern coast. Asian news outlets are reportingthe temperature on Wednesday reached an even higher 110.3ºF (43.5ºC) in nearby Fenghua, which would also be a record for the surrounding Zheijiang Province.

The prolonged spell of scorching temperatures is a result of stationary high pressure off the eastern coast, which has prevented tropical moisture from delivering normal summer rainfall. Drought conditions have developed in southern China, and low soil moisture has helped boost air temperatures to record levels.

500 millibar height anomalies from early this morning. Translation?

500 millibar height anomalies from early this morning. The dark oranges centered over eastern China indicate a “heat dome,” which has elevated temperatures and blocked precipitation. (WeatherBell)

The longer-term effects of rapid urbanization, decreased vegetation, and global warming are also at play, as experts at China’s Meteorological Center have explained to the local press.

As eastern and southern China wilt under the heat, the normally arid northwestern provinces have faced major flooding and above-average rainfall. The Xinhua news agency writes that July precipitation measured 12.9 inches (328.1 mm) in China’s northern Shandong province, a 50-year high.

The inverted weather pattern this summer is due to the jet stream stream staying parked to the north, which has kept rain from reaching China’s southern and coastal regions.

For the millions of heat-weary residents in China’s major coastal cities, the extended hot spell will continue for at least another week. A silver lining is that temperatures will slowly moderate into the mid-90s after the weekend. Yet rainfall remains absent, as tropical storm systems, typical for this time of year, steer clear of the East China Sea.

Climate change? It’s HOT here, regardless…!

From China Daily : Owners of restaurants and online shops say they have seen rising demand for their delivery services because of the hot weather, as meteorologists forecast that a large swathe of China will continue to bake under the scorching sun this week.

The National Meteorological Center in Beijing forecast on Sunday that the heat wave will continue in cities including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Changsha, Wuhan and Chongqing for the next 10 days. Between Aug 1 and 5, the mercury may surge above 39 C in eastern China.


Deliveries up as mercury rises

An air raid shelter in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is open to the public on Sunday to provide relief from the heat as temperatures soared above 40 C for the fifth day in a row. Li Zhong / for China Daily


In Shanghai, where more than 20 million people live, the temperature started to rise quickly on Sunday morning and peaked at 38.1 C at about 2 pm, forcing the regional meteorological authorities to issue an orange alert for heat in the morning.

“Because of a weakened subtropical anti-cyclone, the heat will slightly alleviate over the coming two or three days, and the mercury won’t go beyond 37 C,” Zhang Ruiyi, chief meteorologist at the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, said on Sunday.

However, the heat will continue over the coming week — temperature highs expected to top 35 C — and even short rainstorms forecast for regional areas will not cool the city, she said.

“Some indexes have shown that this is the hottest July in Shanghai’s meteorological history,” she said. The mercury reached a record 40.6 C in the city’s Xujiahui Area on Friday.

To seek shelter from the heat, many residents stay in their air-conditioned homes or offices and order meals and supplies to be delivered. Restaurants and online stores have reported considerable growth in delivery services.

Ye Chengwei, owner of Original Natural Foods, an online retailer of organic foods in Hangzhou, said on Sunday that he has seen a rising demand for his shop’s products.

“Because of the hot weather, many people stay indoors and avoid going to markets or other places to shop,” he said.

Delivery services his shop provides become a top choice for many, and his most popular products are fresh vegetables and fruit, such as eggplants, cucumbers, watermelons and grapes.

“Most of our customers are parents in their 40s, making a 100 to 200 yuan ($16-$32) order each time,” Ye added.

The sales of cold dishes have outperformed hot meals at restaurants and there has been a rise in take-away meals.

“Because of the scorching weather, our delivery orders have grown by 20 to 30 percent these days,” said the owner of a restaurant located on Shanghai’s Wanping Road that specializes in cuisine from Northeast China.

“Part of our attraction is that we charge no fee for delivery services,” said the owner, who gave her name as Dong. “In the restaurant, customers prefer cold dishes, such as mung bean sheet noodles, that give a refreshing taste in the sweltering summer. We are short-handed at peak times and do not have enough time to handle delivery services then.”

On Tabao, one of China’s most popular online shopping sites, products that help relieve the heat are selling fast.

More than 100,000 people search for items such as bamboo sleeping mats, fans and mosquito nets on the website each day, according to Qi Xiaopei, who works for Taobao’s public relations department.

Compared to last July, this month has seen a significant increase in the sales of these items. “Sales increased by 1.7 times for bamboo sleeping mats, 2.5 times for fans and 50 percent for mosquito nets,” he said.

The website has also seen more business on its online lunch-ordering service, he said.

“The number of food and beverage orders rose by 50 percent during the hot days. Hangzhou and Shanghai are where most of the increase comes from. Milk tea and other beverages are most frequently ordered, with sales increasing more than 60 percent on the same period last year,” he said.

More than 50 restaurants have opened online ordering services every day on the website.

NAEE_UK believes the climate change discussion is imperative

URBAN NOISE POLLUTION : Pleas for quiet, but city still roars


Since Shanghai can be noisy, this is interesting….From the New York Times 
New Yorkers have complained about noise for as long as anyone will listen.
To silence the city, or at least quiet it down, the police have yanked hand organs and loud radios. Traffic lights replaced whistle-blowing police officers. Horses and subway cars were outfitted with rubber soles. Jet planes were rerouted and clanging garbage trucks redesigned. Yet the racket has thundered on.
Henry J. Stern, who created quiet zones in the 1980s when he was the parks commissioner, summed up the struggle this way: “It’s a city, not a cemetery.”
Mr. Stern dealt with grievances from those who produced noise and those exposed to it, including a case that shot up to the United States Supreme Court and pitted Rock Against Racism, a group that put on concerts in Central Park, and the police commissioner. “A noisemaker’s First Amendment right stops when a listener’s Eighth Amendment right is impaired,” he said. (The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishments.)
And so it has gone for more than a century. Campaigns with aggressive slogans like Operation Soundtrap and The War on Noise came and went, vanquished by a lack of resolve, tight budgets and more pressing problems. Untold thousands of fines were handed out.
Today, many believe the city is the loudest it has ever been. Sound systems are deliberately cranked up to full volume in restaurants, gyms and stores – with the goal of creating a frenzied environment in which people want to spend money. Outside, construction, hovering helicopters and idling trucks have drowned out the few successes the city has had.
But public outrage was perhaps louder in the early 1900s, when Julia Barnett Rice, a physician and socialite, organized the Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise.
Dr. Rice lobbied Congress to pass one of the earliest antinoise laws, one that prohibited”unnecessary” steamboat whistling that could “murder sleep
and therefore man.” She posted signs around hospitals, churches and schools.
Dr. Rice’s effort faded, but science came up with new ways to quantify the din. In the 1920s, a group of acoustical experts used the decibel, named after Alexander Graham Bell, to figure  out just how loud the city was.
Men with rounded glasses and porkpie hats from the Noise Abatement Commission create a roving laboratory on the back of a flatbed truck. In “City Noise,” an exquisitely detailed report of their findings published in 1930, they concluded that New York was so loud that a Bengal tiger could “roar or snarl indefinitely” without attracting attention.
There was tremendous optimism that a scientist’s gauge could solve the problem, said EmilyThompson, a historian at Princeton University.
“Measuring was easy,” she said. “Control was harder.”
In 1936, the city passed its first comprehensive noise code. There was a $1 fine for the first offense.
In the 1970s, car alarms, truck back-up beepers, the component car stereo and roaring jetplanes rattled the city. Noise was now considered a pollutant.
In 1972, the city’s noise code was overhauled. Horn-honking “when there is no imminent danger”became a criminal offense. The Sanitation Department redesigned its garbage trucks to operate at a noise level no louder than a vacuum cleaner.
In 1973, inspectors staked out busy intersections. One outraged driver who was given a ticket near the Lincoln Tunnel shouted, “Didn’t you see that guy cut me off?”
But plans to enforce and educate the public about the code faded after a wave of budget cuts in the 1980s. In 1998, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani began a Civility Campaign, in which he said he was determined to stop annoying behavior, like littering and blaring car alarms, before it
started. The police began mapping complaints about loud music along with major crimes, and in 2000 issued 4,866 noise summonses.
When he took office, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vowed that frequently dismissed noise infractions would be enforced. In January 2002, he announced plans for a 311 Citizen Service Center.
When the code took effect two years later, few noticed or cared. Except when the noise police arrived. The driver of an ice-cream truck , when given a $30 fine, said he would lose business if he did not play the jingle.
This year, the Transportation Department began removing “Do Not Honk” signs to de-clutter lampposts. But antinoise activists said it acknowledged defeat.
Arline L. Bronzaft, a psychologist who helped erect the signs 27 years ago, said, “I wish we could regulate good manners.”
The New York Times
 NAEE_UK cares about the city

POLLUTION: Coal burning in China’s north can shorten lives

 Coal burning in China's north can shorten lives

Buildings loom out of the haze in this view from a window in Beijing’s Central Business District on Tuesday. Air pollution is shortening the lives of people in northern China by about 5.5 years, an international study shows. Jason Lee / Reuters


Shanghai skies are regularly grey and its pollution is, I’m convinced, worsening! During Expo 2010, they were bearable – sometimes even blue!

Research shows people in polluted areas live an average of 5.5 years less. China Daily reports

Heavy air pollution reduces life expectancy, a new study has found, ringing an alarm for policymakers looking to create their future energy roadmap.

The research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US multidisciplinary scientific serial, said on Tuesday that air pollution from burning coal caused people in northern China to live an average of 5.5 years less than the people living in the south. Coal burning has been providing heat to the north for decades.

“The study gives a clear answer to the link between life expectancy and air pollution,” Li Hongbin, an economics professor at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing who collaborated with researchers in China, the US and Israel on the study, told China Daily on Tuesday.

The study analyzed the total suspended particulate matter and deaths in 90 cities across China from 1981 to 2000, finding a sharp difference in mortality rates on either side of the Huaihe River, which is the border giving people living north of the line free heating in winter.

“With the heating policy, the northern areas have been exposed to more pollution than the southern areas, which makes the study possible,” Li said, adding that low rates of migration during this period were also key to the study.

Air pollution in the north from burning coal was 55 percent higher than in the south between 1981 and 2000, while life expectancies were 5.5 years lower on average across all age ranges.

The researchers said the differences in life expectancies were due mainly to increased deaths caused by diseases related to air quality, such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory illnesses.

Their analysis estimated that every additional 100 milligrams of total suspended particulate matter per cubic meter in the atmosphere lowers life expectancy at birth by about three years.

Total suspended particulate matter includes large particles and PM 2.5 – particles with diameters less than 2.5 micrometers – which are of great health concern because they can penetrate deep into the lungs. However, the researchers lacked the data to analyze those tiny particles separately.

“The real situation might be worse than the study showed, because PM 2.5 can be more harmful to health,” Li added.

Gan Quan, senior project officer of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, said the study was necessary in helping authorities be aware of the impact of air pollution and to adjust policies.

“We need such research to give a clear link between air pollution and life expectancy,” Gan said.

Li agreed, adding that the study wasn’t meant as a comment on the coal-heating policy, but to let the results show that the Chinese government should make of an effort to fight air pollution.


What city is the best….?


“In London one could walk into the world’s best museums without having to pay”

Which city has the lowest rental, which city sells the cheapest hamburger meal, and which city would you go to buy designer bags? China Daily sends out correspondents to seven cities to get you the answers.

Every city has its bright or bad facets and most of us have love-hate relationships with our chosen site of abode, in varying degrees. Our investigative team does a random sampling of interviews in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, London and Paris, to find out the ups and downs of daily life in terms of dollars and cents – and come up with some surprising answers.

This is neither scientific research nor a report to tell everyone which is the best city to live in,but rather a presentation of what it is like living in these cities and a reflection of its urban psychographics.

According the The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, one of the features of the cost-of-living ranking over the last few years has been the rise of many Asian cities offsetting traditionally more costly European locations. In our interviews, we find rising Asian hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong among the top 20 most expensive cities. In fact, of the world’s 20 most expensive cities, 11 are from Asia. The rest are from the West. A decade ago, it was six Asian cities compared to 10 European cities, with four from the United States.

Wei Dongjian from Beijing says he and his fiancee Wu Yuanping plan to move to Guangzhou,the provincial capital of Guangdong province, in the next few years, where the climate is milder,and where she can escape Beijing’s notorious smog.

“I’m not suited to Beijing’s environment. On average, I end up in the doctor’s office every other month,” says Wu.

Winky Lee’s biggest complaint about living in Hong Kong is also its pollution. But like many Hong Kong residents, Lee has a love-hate relationship with the city.

“The climate is hospitable. It is easy and inexpensive to travel and experience different cultures within Asia,” Lee says. “The low taxes are a big plus. The city offers a lot of public holidays which helps break up long hours at the office,” she says.

But, Lee feels that it is difficult to meet romantic prospects because of the city’s transient nature. She also bemoans the housing market and how difficult it is to afford a flat.

Another Asian city that shares similar characteristics as Hong Kong is Singapore. Residents are drawn to the city-state because it is safe, sheltered from natural disasters, wired and has one of the lowest income taxes in the region. English is widely spoken and understood, and being a regional air-transport hub – one can travel anywhere in the world at a fairly low cost.

But because of its small size, the island is crowded and as a result, prices of housing and private vehicles have been skyrocketing, and current infrastructure and public transport struggle to meet the needs of the population size.

For those who love the arts, London and Paris are two cities that are oozing with it.

Frederick Schneider who works for an advertising agency in London says one could walk into the world’s best museums without having to pay.

He says London is also a good place to build one’s career. “It is a truly metropolitan city and you meet the most amazing people here,” Schneider says, but he quickly adds that, “It is exciting, but it is also exhausting.”

Housing and transportation in London are among the most expensive in the world, and the weather is rarely comfortable.

Aurelie, a Parisien, says she enjoys living in Paris because of the city’s rich artistic and cultural life. She keeps aside about $45 a month for art exhibitions and shows.

“There is also a tremendous choice of painting exhibitions, theater plays and old movie theaters such as Cinema Mac Mahon that replays old films,” she says, adding that she finds the magnificent architecture of Paris endearing.

If there is anything that Aurelie hates about Paris, it is the fact that the Parisiens are less friendly compared to those from smaller towns. Plus, people have to work much longer hours than those living in other French towns.

Meanwhile, New York City, often described as “the capital of the world”, is a place where contradictions co-exist and thrive side-by-side.

“All you need is an open mind and an appreciation for the opportunity to experience so much in one place,” mortgage consultant Joseph D’Alessio says.

But he admits that “it is very hard to relax when you live in NYC” and that “it is more difficult toraise a family” in the city.

One common denominator stands out among those interviewed. Travel ranks as their top priority, with almost all of them saving up for overseas trips.