China has experienced its warmest autumn for 55 years with its average temperature 1.6 degrees Celsius higher than normal, according to the Science Times.
The temperature rise of 1.6 degrees Celsius has broken the record for temperature rises since 1951, said Zhang Qiang, assistant director-general of disaster relief with the China Meteorological Administration.
Zhang said the average temperature was even two to four degrees higher in the western part of northwest China, northwestern part of northeast China and areas of Inner Mongolia.
Fourteen provinces, municipalities and regions including Beijing, Jiangsu, Hunan, Guangxi, Gansu and Xinjiang also recorded their highest average temperatures since 1951. Beijing recorded an average temperature of 21.5 degrees Celsius from September to early October, 2.4 degrees Celsius higher than normal.
China has also seen less rainfall with 110 millimeters of rainfall on average from September to November this year, 10.5 millimeters lower than the historical average.
Zhang said the change in weather conditions was due to the unusual atmospheric circulation.
"From September to the first half of November, China has been dominated by a ridge of high pressure, which has caused higher temperatures and less rainfall," Zhang said.
Since November, central and east China has suffered severe drought. Reports said that more than six million hectares of farmland had been plagued by drought and nearly five million people and 2.7 million head of livestock had faced water shortages.
Meteorologists in Beijing forecast that China is likely to encounter a warmer winter at the turn of the year.
In the summer this year, China recorded an average temperature of 21.4 degrees Celsius, one degree Celsius higher than usual.
Experts pointed out that the shifts in climate conditions conformed to the trend of global warming.
(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2006)