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Author Topic: Climate in China  (Read 4855 times)

Raoul F. Duke

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Climate in China
« on: June 17, 2007, 03:50:16 PM »
Originally posted on TESall.com. It was a long hard write, so what the hell....

The differences in climate may be bigger than you realize. China is HUGE...the distance from the Siberian border in the Northeast to Hainan Island off the southeast coast is about the same as from New York to Peru, or from London to the Niger River.

In general, all of China gets extremely hot in Summer, at least for a while, with the exception of areas at high altitudes- mostly in the far southwest. All of China can get uncomfortably cold in the winter, at least for a while, with the possible exception of some distinctly tropical patches- mostly in the deep south. Spring and Autumn are glorious almost everywhere here.

However, I don't think there are any places with the same weather pattern most of the year. Probably the closest thing is the far southeast/south central. Places like Fujian, Guangdong, and Guangxi Provinces along the coast are hot and steamy much of the time...too much for me. Even these places will get icy blasts out of Siberia from time to time in winter. If you go far enough down and away from the coast you will encounter jungles and monsoon rains in season...these provinces border Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.

At the other extreme is the far northeast- the Provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning. In many areas here there isn't anything between you and Siberia except barbed-wire fences, and you can count on it being _bitterly_ cold for 4-5 months out of the year. Cold snaps can run to near -50C. Here, the borders are with Mongolia, Siberian Russia, and salubrious North Korea. The coastal areas of Liaoning, including cities like Dalian, have it a tiny bit easier but this is very much a relative thing- it's still damn cold in the winter. Even these places are uncomfortably hot for a few weeks in Summer.

T and Qinghai are at very high altitudes and tend to be cool...very cold in winter but maybe not the extreme that the northeast gets. Xinjiang in the far northwest is largely arid desert, but the river valleys can be very pleasant places. All of Xinjiang can get roasting hot in Summer and quite cold in Winter.

The northern cities such as Beijing (independent municipality), Xian (Shaanxi Province), and Tianjin (independent municipality) are at the cool end of the temperate range. Both summers and especially winters can be brutal there. Same is true of Shanghai (independent municipality), Suzhou and Nanjing (both Jiangsu Province), and Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province)- here the weather is nice much of the time but Summers are really stinky and Winters can be surprisingly cold and windy. Chongqing (a municipality associated with Sichuan Province), Changsha (Hunan Province), Wuhan (Hubei Province) and Nanchang (Jiangxi Province) are known collectively as the "Furnace Cities", with especially sweltering, humid Summers...pretty much true anywhere along the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) Valley.

Rainfall will be most frequent along the coast, along the 2 big river valleys (Yellow and Chang Jiang), in the steamy subtropical deep southeast, and in the misty mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan. The far west, the far north, and the northeast are all pretty arid...maybe too arid. Heavy snows fall most north of the Yellow River and in the high mountains of the far west. By the time you reach the Chang Jiang river, even a light dusting of snow becomes a rarity.

Many regard the best weather in China to be in Yunnan Province, in cities like Kunming. You're far south here, but the elevation is very high. Kunming has Spring-like weather much of the year...moderate, misty, and rainy. However, it's also extremely popular with foreigners and not highly developed and rich when compared with east China, so finding a job with decent pay here is tough. My personal pick is the area around Shanghai- from Qingdao in Shandong to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, as far west as Nanjing in Jiangsu Province. Mostly tolerable weather and a booming economy.

There is no perfect weather in China, and there is no completely abysmal weather here. It's all a set of trade-offs. The thing to do is decide what you like and find the area that comes closest to that.


George61 added:
The weather in Shandong seems to be remarkably stable. In three years here, I have only seen one or two  bad storms...heavy rain, strong winds, etc. These were the tails of the typhoons that hit Southern China. Yes we get heavy rains occasionally, and the temperature drops below - with the summer being very hot, but overall it is liveable.  And as the previous poster(  ) wrote, Spring and Autumn are EXCELLENT seasons.


Vegemite added:
The weather here in Hailaer, Inner Mongolia, is all over the place - it varies dramatically. During summer it became quite stable, nice highs of 35 - 40C. In spring it fluctuated incredibly. I remember oneday coming home at 12 and it was 30C, by the time I returned to school (two hours) later is was down to 5C. Spring was the season of colds and flus for all.

This morning we might be getting our first snow of the season. For the last couple of days the locals have kept swearing that it's going to snow this week...today it's overcast and it was 3C when I took the dog out for her morning stroll. Cold! People are all wrapped up - just two days ago some were still in tee-shirts.

I'm not looking forward to winter. We arrived here at the end of February this year and that was cold enough for me - -30C. Brrr...thank goodness for radiators.


Cheekygal added:
Beijing weather sucks. It changes whenever and however. Just on Saturday it was hot and Sunday the temperature dropped to the level where I had to wear long sleeved shirt plus a sweater!
Normally summers are hot and humid and around September it starts getting dryer. Winters are windy and cold though with occasional sun treatments. Temperature in winter drops to -20...25C and in summer reaches at times to +35C (if not more). February is probably the coldest month with strong winds. Sand storms in spring. Rains too in almost every season (except for winter of course). Local people say that Beijing has a four seasons weather - sometimes it literally changes 4 times a day but in a more hectic way: it can be warm and suddenly it snows or rains etc.
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Vegemite

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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2007, 07:19:19 PM »
Originally posted on TESall.com. It was a long hard write, so what the hell....
At the other extreme is the far northeast- the Provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning. In many areas here there isn't anything between you and Siberia except barbed-wire fences, and you can count on it being _bitterly_ cold for 4-5 months out of the year. Cold snaps can run to near -50C. Here, the borders are with Mongolia, Siberian Russia, and salubrious North Korea. The coastal areas of Liaoning, including cities like Dalian, have it a tiny bit easier but this is very much a relative thing- it's still damn cold in the winter. Even these places are uncomfortably hot for a few weeks in Summer.

You've forgotten the bit of Nei Mongol that is between Heilongjiang and Mongolia. Most of Nei Mongol lies to the south of Mongolia, but there is a little bit nestled between Russia to the north, Mongolia to the south and west, and Heilongjiang to the east.

Up here the weather is just as described by Raoul above. However, we have heating on for nearly seven months of the year so inside is always toastie and warm. But to go outside, you have to dress for the cold...on very cold days nostrils freeze and bleed, eyes get stuck together - it's fun. On the other hand, summers are hot and dry. Spring and autumn are usually the windy seasons with a touch of rain. I love the extremes of the climate up here...
but it does get cold, when we went south to Harbin for Xmas we relaxed in the warmth down there...
« Last Edit: June 17, 2007, 07:35:51 PM by Vegemite »
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Mr Nobody

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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2007, 02:01:41 AM »
Guangxi is not quite so steamy as Guangdong, lying between Guangdong and Yunnan, which as Raoul said has very nice climate but too many foreigners looking for work.(the legend of "Shangri La" is based on one of the cities in Yunnan - Zhongdian to be exact, although some travel brochures say Lijiang.)

 Guangxi is a little tropical, but milder than Guangdong, and quite pleasant for most of the year. Cool in winter (the cold blasts are not from Siberia but off the Himalayas and the Tan plateau in the southern regions) IT doesn't get as hot and humid, and big cyclones etc only end up here as bad weather. Spring and Autumn are nice, the further you get from summer.

During the summer months, I try to be elsewhere, though. It can be vile, and the temptation is to sit in front of an airconditioner and do my bit for global warming.
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contemporarydog

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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 02:13:47 AM »
I think the Dalian weather is pretty good.  Sure, July and August can get quite hot (but nothing like as unbearable as in some other cities) but March through June, and September/October, are just lovely.  Dalian has blue skies on about 85% of days, which is very rare for China, except for the July/August months when it gets a bit grey and smoggy.

Right now it's getting cold, but it's still blue skies most days, and it's very refreshing and bracing.  December/Jan does get a bit stupidly cold though.
It is too early to say.

contemporarydog

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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2007, 04:40:09 AM »
I agree.  If you want to travel in China, teaching is the wrong way to do it (as an aside, I hate the way people on the ESL Cafe bitch on about 'backpacker teachers', I have met very few proper backpacking types teaching over here).  The holidays always come when the weather is worst or it's too busy to travel.
It is too early to say.

Paul Carr

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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2009, 05:04:04 AM »

Quote
Cheekygal added:
Beijing weather sucks. It changes whenever and however. Just on Saturday it was hot and Sunday the temperature dropped to the level where I had to wear long sleeved shirt plus a sweater!
Normally summers are hot and humid and around September it starts getting dryer. Winters are windy and cold though with occasional sun treatments. Temperature in winter drops to -20...25C and in summer reaches at times to +35C (if not more). February is probably the coldest month with strong winds. Sand storms in spring. Rains too in almost every season (except for winter of course). Local people say that Beijing has a four seasons weather - sometimes it literally changes 4 times a day but in a more hectic way: it can be warm and suddenly it snows or rains etc.

I don't think it gets as cold as -20 or -25 degrees celsius in Beijing.  The coldest it gets is about -15 degrees at night.  The average temperature at night in January would be about -10C.  The average temperature during the day in January, when it's coldest, is 0 to -1C.  It's not really the horror show you'll get in Dongbei.  Sure, with a wind chill, it can feel a little colder, into the -20 to -25C range you mention on one or two rare occasions.  As I recall, even that only happens once or twice in winter, in the dead of night of course.  And, it's dry in winter so it doesn't feel so cold.  I've lived in Beijing city for nearly 3 years and this winter I went jogging around my neighborhood in Dongzhimen every night.  I just threw on some extra clothes.  I was fine.

Beijing is located nearly 40 degrees latitude north of the Equator.  That means it's a little nearer the Equator than to the North Pole. I have a theory. According to my theory, that means the Beijing summer is actually a little longer than the Beijing winter. The winter lasts from November 15th to March 15th which corresponds to the time the Government turns on and off the central heating in all the apartments.  Then, you have brief spring and autumn periods (March 15th to May 1st) and (October 1st to November 15th).  Then, you have 5 months of the summer day-time furnace from May 1st to October 1st.  By July and August, even the lowest nighttime temperature will be above 20 degrees celsius.  Very pleasant.  After September 15th, you'll begin to notice a slight cooling off at night.  Lowest nighttime temperatures will drop off a little from 20 degrees to 15 degrees or so.

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dragonsaver

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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 05:41:26 AM »

Quote
I don't think it gets as cold as -20 or -25 degrees celsius in Beijing.


Not really true.  The average temperatures might not get that cold but the records definitely do.  here is one link http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT002100

Month   Temperature
   Average             Record
   Min   Max   Min   Max
                
Jan   -10   1   -23   14
Feb   -8   4   -18   19
March   -1   11   -14   28
April   7   21   -3   36
May   13   27   3   38
June   18   31   10   43
July   21   31   15   41
Aug   20   30   11   38
Sept   14   26   2   34
Oct   6   20   -5   31
Nov   -2   9   -13   24
Dec   -8   3   -20   13















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Paul Carr

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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2009, 06:14:22 AM »
According to weatherunderground, the record coldest temperature for Beijing was -15 degrees celsius in 2001.

http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/ZBAA/2009/1/13/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

For the winter of 2008/2009, the coldest temperature in Beijing was -14 degrees celsius (one night in December and one night in January).

http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/ZBAA/2008/12/13/MonthlyHistory.html
http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/ZBAA/2009/1/13/MonthlyHistory.html

For the winter of 2007/2008, the coldest temperature in Beijing was -12 degrees celsius (one night in January)

http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/ZBAA/2008/1/13/MonthlyHistory.html

For the winter of 2006/2007, the coldest temperature in Beijing was - 11 degrees celsius (one night in December and one night in January).

http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/ZBAA/2006/12/13/MonthlyHistory.html
http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/ZBAA/2007/1/13/MonthlyHistory.html

Of course, none of these temperatures take into account other possible factors such as  windchill.
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Re: Climate in China
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2009, 09:59:39 AM »
Dear Paul,

I full concur with what you write but IMHO the buildings in Beijing simply are not insulated enough to ward off those kind of temperatures.  I have never been so cold in my life as I have been in Beijing in the middle of winter in a heated apartment.

The weather in Harbin is Siberian but the buildings are so well heated that I was actually able to raise a tomato plant in the winter.  No tomatoes, mind you, but it grew and gave rise to tomatoes much earlier in the spring.

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