China Is Heating Up Faster Than The Global Average, Data Shows
(Bloomberg) -- China has seen faster temperature increases and rising sea levels than the global average rate over the past few decades, and experienced more frequent extreme weather events, according to official data.
From 1951 to 2019, China’s temperate rose an average of 0.24 degrees Celsius every ten years, according to the Blue Book on Climate Change published this week by the National Climate Center. The center is China’s top climate research center and is affiliated with the Meteorological Administration.
Average sea level rise near China’s coastal regions was 3.4 millimeters per year from 1980 to 2019, faster than the global average of 3.2 millimeters per year from 1993 to 2019. Last year, the level rose 24 millimeters from the previous year and was 72 millimeters higher than the country’s average from 1993 to 2011.
The annual report also noted an increase of surface water in China since 2015. The water level of Qinghai Lake, a major lake in China’s traditionally arid northwestern region, was 3.1 meters higher in 2019 than it was 15 years earlier.
Last year, several major glaciers and frozen areas in China melted at a faster pace, according to the report. Urumqi Glacier No.1 in northwest China, one of the glaciers most closely watched for the impact of climate change, melted in 2019 at the fastest pace since the 1960s, when data was first available.
China has been one of the countries most impacted by climate change, with rising sea levels threatening to submerge coastal mega cities like Shanghai if action isn’t taken to cut emissions. In 2019, more than 900 people people were killed or went missing due to natural disasters including floods and typhoons, and over 19 million hectares (47 million acres) of crops were damaged, according to the emergency management ministry.
Summer floods this year have caused $25 billion of direct economic damage.
The National Climate Center’s report also highlighted some positive signs in China’s re-forestation campaign. There has been a “steady” increase of the country’s vegetation coverage rate since 2000, it said. Last year, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index -- an indicator that quantifies live green vegetation -- was 5.7% higher than the average level from 2000 to 2018.
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