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Elevation extremes: The average elevation is about four meters above sea level.

Except for a few hills lying in the southwest corner, most parts of Shanghai are flat and belong to the alluvial plain of the Yangtze River Delta. According to the inspection of 2000, Shanghai covers a total area of 6,340.5 square kilometers, about 0.06 percent of the national territory, including 6,219 square kilometers of land area and 122 square kilometers of water area. It extends 120 km from south to north and 100 km from east to west. Its Chongming Island, covering an area of 1,041 square kilometers, is the third largest island in China.


With a pleasant northern subtropical maritime monsoon climate, Shanghai enjoys four distinct seasons, with generous sunshine and abundant rainfall. Its spring and autumn are relatively short comparing with the summer and winter. In 2000, the average annual temperature was 17.6 C. The city had a frost-free period of 300 days, and received an annual rainfall of 1,302 millimeters. However, nearly 50 percent of the precipitation came during the May-September flooding season, which is divided into three rainy periods, namely, the Spring Rains, the Plum Rains and the Autumn Rains.

Natural resources:

Dotted with many rivers and lakes, Shanghai is known for its rich water resources, with the water area accounting for 11 percent of its total territory. Most of the rivers are tributaries of the Huangpu River. Originated from the Taihu Lake, the 113 km Huangpu River winds through the downtown area of the city. The river is about 300 to 770 meters wide with an average width standing at 360 meters. The ice-free river is the main waterway in the Shanghai area.

The total water reserve in Shanghai stands at 2.7 billion cubic meters, 200 cubic meters per capita.

Facing the East China Sea, Shanghai has abundant aquatic resources. There are a total of more than 700 types of aquatic products in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea. In addition, Shanghai is located at the mouth of the Yangtze River where sea water and fresh water converge. The wide river mouth is home to 108 species of fish including 20 economic fishes. Shanghai also boasts a number of natural lakes with abundant bottom living things such as conch, Corbicula leana (a fresh-water variety of bivalves) and clam.

Tourism resources:

As a city of a long history, Shanghai has 13 historical sites under state protection, including characteristic gardens built during the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. A group of architectures built since the 1990s have added something new to the scenic attractions of the city. The Oriental Pearl TV tower, the No. 1 skyscraper in China and the People's Square well fit into the urban landscape and compete with the Western-style architectures built along the bunds.


Shanghai has no conventional energy reserves such as coal, petroleum or waterpower. It has to rely on energies imported from other provinces. But Shanghai turns out a certain amount of high-quality second-energy products, including electric power, oil products, coke and gas (including liquefied petroleum gas). Potential energy resources to be tapped include methane, wind power, tidal power and solar energy.

Environment and current issues:

In 2000, Shanghai achieved the general improvement of the water quality of the Suzhou River. Its water became clearer and less smelly. The overall water quality of the Huangpu River has improved. The discharges of major pollutants decreased with the total suspended granules dropping by 7.1 percent, and nitrogen oxide dropping by 8.1 percent. The per capita green land for Shanghai citizens is 4.6 square meters. Gas for cooking is available to each household in the urban area.

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