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English>>China Society

Usual suspects not on hot cities list

By Wang Qian, Xu Wei, Cang Wei  (China Daily)

08:34, August 20, 2012

A resident in Chongqing jumps into a swimming pool in the Yangrenjie water amusement park on Saturday, when the temperature in the city exceeded 40 C. Chen Cheng / Xinhua

Ranking arrived at using weather data collected from 1981 to 2011

Among the places that are popularly considered the hottest in China, a couple were absent from a list of the country's "hotpot cities" that the country's climate watchdog released for the first time over the weekend.

Chongqing and Hangzhou, both notorious broilers during the summer months, made the list. But Wuhan and Nanjing, which are also commonly believed to be among China's hottest cities, were absent from the top four spots in the ranking.

Unsurprisingly, also high on the list were Fuzhou in East China's Fujian province and Nanchang in Jiangxi province, according to the China Meteorological Administration's National Climate Center, which compiled the list.

Rather than simple measurements of heat, the rankings were calculated using a "heat index", which combines temperature and humidity data collected from 1981 to 2011 in an attempt to get a sense of how hot the weather over a certain period actually feels to human beings, the center said.

"Greater humidity will prevent heat from being dissipated from the human body as quickly, causing a sensation of being overheated," said Zhang Cunjie, a climate expert at the center. "Dryness, on the other hand, can accelerate heat loss from the body."

Zhang said global warming and the "urban heat island effect" - the effect buildings, pavement and other features of urban landscapes have on the temperature - have helped push the mercury in thermometers up higher in recent summers.

In July, Chongqing saw 25 days in which the high temperature surpassed 35 C, according to the city's meteorological bureau. Forty-eight people in the city suffered heatstroke from the start of April to Thursday, the local health bureau said.

Dong Xinning, a senior meteorologist at the Chongqing Meteorological Bureau, said extremely hot weather has become more common in recent years. He said the National Climate Center's rankings come as a sign that he and other officials need to prepare for future possible heat waves in Chongqing in order to prevent economic losses and casualties.

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