Beijing, China: Live Weather

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Historic Temperatures for 28th February in Beijing

Average High 7°C (45°F)
Record High 13°C (55°F) (2001)
Average Low -2°C (28°F)
Record Low -7°C (19°F) (2006)

Chinaâs capital, Beijing, is located in northern China, almost entirely surrounded by the Hebei Province. Already home to almost 17,500,000 people, Beijing will temporarily increase in size during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Beijing is home to a humid continental climate which is influenced by the local East Asian monsoons. A humid continental climate is characterised by large variation between seasons and variable weather patterns. These types of climates generally occur over large areas of land masses, such as China and weather conditions tend to increase in extremity the further in land that you move.

Beijing experiences distinct seasons, which should make it easy to decide when you want to visit. If you are a fan of the snow and subzero temperatures, head to Beijing in the winter months of December to February. Want to experience a sandstorm? Then spring is your time to go. If you want Beijingâs best weather conditions then head there in late summer and early autumn, as these times see the capital with its most comfortable weather. Spring is also a beautiful time to visit, however as mentioned earlier, you may get caught up in a dust storm when sand is picked up from the Gobi desert and blown into the capital, sometimes dumping thousands of tonnes of sand into the city.

Summer

Summers in Beijing are hot, humid and wet. From June till August receives 40% of the annual precipitation. July and August see the most rain, and by quite a significant amount. July averages 176mm precipitation and August sees 182mm, where as June sees under 50% of this, receiving 71mm precipitation on average throughout the month. This summer rainfall occurs as a result of the East Asian monsoon winds which affect the region.

In the peak of summer, the daytime temperatures generally range from 28°C up to a blistering 39°C. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Beijing was a sweltering 42°C. June to August sees average highs of 30°C to 31°C and average lows of 18°C to 21°C . Its best to come equipped with light clothes and plenty of sunscreen; or you copy the locals and shield yourself from the sun with a delicate Chinese parasol.

Winter

Winters in Beijing are harsh. The mercury begins to drop around the end of October, and what develops is a bitterly cold and windy few months with very little rain. December and February have an average daily temperature of -2°C. January is the coldest month averaging -4°C. This translates to daytime highs around 2°C and night time lows of -9°C. The surrounding months are only a couple of degrees warmer. The lowest ever recorded temperature in Beijing was an aching negative of -27°C. The blistering winters are due to the Siberian anticyclones that move southward across the Mongolian plateau. Throughout winter the temperature is rarely above freezing.

Rainfall drops to between 2mm and 9mm per month from November through until March. It snows twice on average during winter.

Spring/Autumn

It is said that the best time to visit Beijing is during the spring and autumn - autumn in particular. Rainfall is low, sunshine, as always, is abundant, and the heat is at comfortable levels.

From mid September till the beginning of November the temperatures change rapidly. Early autumn, from mid September till mid October, still sees pleasant daytime highs in the low 20s and cool nights. Rainfall decreases throughout the season and is already at moderate levels in September.

Spring quickly warms up and rainfall does not get above low levels until the start of summer. March sees average high temperatures of a still chilly 11°C, by April however it has increased quite significantly to 20°C , before reaching 26°C  by May. In 2002 a dust storm in April alone dumped nearly 50,000 tons of dust onto the city before moving on to southern Asian! The problem that accompanies the sand storms is that Beijingâs infamously high pollution, combined with the high humidity, results in a thick smog blanketing the city.

Weather Modification in Beijing and the Olympics

The Summer Olympics will be taking place in August 2008 which could be interesting due to the amount of rain that generally falls during this period.

The Olympics run from August 8th through until August 24th, which is the period that typically records about 11 wet days, high humidity and high temperatures. Chinese meteorologists and the Weather Modification Office have come up with a grand plan to try to avoid rain on the opening ceremony on August 8. While a âweather modification officeâ seems like something you would see in a futuristic sci-fi movie, it exists and has for decades in China. While normally in charge of âcreatingâ rainfall in dusty and polluted regions, in the case of the Olympics, the opposite is the mission- the office is trying to find ways to dissolve the clouds to ensure a dry and sunny opening ceremony.

For many decades the weather modification office has been at work making rain in Chinaâs northern regions. Chinaâs north is affected by the winds off the Gobi desert which has the affect of drying out farms and coating the overpopulated city with frequent sand storms.

By blasting the sky with cigarette sized rockets, scientists scatter crystals into the clouds which then attract water droplets from within the cloud, become heavier and fall as rain drops. Recently this procedure brought almost 11 mm of water to a dehydrated, dusty and polluted Beijing. The main purpose of the office is to bring water to arid areas and to douse pollution, sandstorms, hail and fires. If successful, the rain due to fall on August 8th will be forced to fall days earlier.

The Olympic Committee and meteorologists have taken data on what the weather has been like historically on August 8th over the past 50 years. The Chinese Meteorological Association has predicted a small 10 percent chance for rainfall on the opening day, and throughout the games China's meteorological departments will provide weather forecasts on an hourly basis.

Pollution in Beijing

Beijingâs industrial success has brought a war with air pollution to its doorstep, a fight that has not been going well; it was recently listed the air pollution capital of the world. The city plays host to the planetâs worst levels of nitrogen dioxide which can cause fatal damage to lungs.

The country has spent more than 8 billion pounds on improving the air quality but hasnât had much success. Millions of cars have been taken off the roads in the past 12 months and many factories have been moved or shut down completely. Less than a year before the Olympics were due to commence, in October 2007, old people and children were advised to stay indoors for the sake of their health as a hazardous haze encircled the city. Citizens were advised to wear face masks to reduce the chances of contracting fatal lung diseases.

Over the past decade the pollution in the sky over the country has increased by 50%, a testament to Chinaâs incredible growth and the countryâs inefficient use of coal as its main source of energy. On an average day in Beijing, the air pollution levels are close to five times above the World Health Organizationâs standard for safety.

In the build up to the Olympics the government is closing 10% of the cityâs gas stations in an attempt to improve the air quality. In addition to this city officials aim to reduce its motor traffic by half during the course of the games, by doubling the subway line network to 125 miles. More than 2,000 old buses and thousands of taxis are being upgraded or replaced with cleaner models.

The air pollution in the city is not only problematic to tourism but is also having a direct effect on the Games themselves. As a result of the pollution levels, Haile Gebrselassie, an EthiopianMarathon world record holder has decided to withdraw from the Olympic marathon on account of his asthma. He feels that running in such high air pollution may be harmful for his health.

The city is confident that it will reduce its air pollution by the time of the games, but its fast growing economy adds 1000 new cars to the traffic each day and the countless building sites around the city only add to the already present dust. It is undeniable though that the city is doing everything in its power to ensure the 2008 Games are the absolute best that they can be.

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