A Burning Issue

Picking up on yesterday’s "hot" topic, my doubt about the accuracy of my memory that the summer days now are hotter than those in my childhood is quickly cleared by the news report today that we have just had an August with a record-breaking 307 hours 50 minutes under “Very Hot Weather” warnings*. This means close to 13 full days of very hot weather!

Here are more details:

  • Six “Very Hot Weather” warnings were issued in August.
  • There were "Very Hot Weather" warnings in 18 days of the month.
  • The longest warning, lasting 97 hours 55 minutes (over 4 days!), was issued from 25 to 29 August.
  • The mean temperature was 29.4°C - 1 degree above the normal temperature in August.
  • The urban temperature has never dropped below 33°C from 20 August onwards.

What is so deeply worrying is that while Mr C.Y. Lam’s forecast of the rise of temperature in Hong Kong I referred to yesterday was meant for the end of this century, there are now clear signs that such days will approach sooner than we expect. Just to quote one example, Mr Lam predicted that the lower bound of the number of very hot days by the end of this century is 12. We already have more in August!

Just now, as I was writing this, the TV sports news showed a local football team training for the new season. A foreign player, probably a new recruit, was resting beside the pitch. When asked how he felt, he said: “Very hot!”


(*Amazingly, the "Very Hot Weather" warning has been introduced since 2000, but the Royal Observatory never gave a definition of it. Based on experience, people just take it to mean a temperature of over 33°C, but there were cases when no warning was issued even when that temperature was reach.)

No comments: