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A worker in Beijing during the heatwave at the end of May

Photo: Andy Wong / AP

The heat continues to have China under control: After reaching new record temperatures in the last days of May, it is expected to remain hot in June.

In Shanghai, the thermometer reached a new high for the month of May on Monday, namely 36.1 degrees Celsius – the last time 35.7 degrees were measured in 2018. The next day, a weather station in southeastern Shenzhen also registered a May record of 40.2 degrees. It is the peak for the time being, after it has been unusually hot in the region since March, before the onset of summer.

Over the next three days, temperatures of more than 35 degrees are expected in large parts of southern and eastern China, and even exceeded 40 degrees in some areas, national meteorologists said on Friday. There, the heat is already putting pressure on the power grids because air conditioning systems in homes, offices and factories in megacities such as Shanghai or Shenzhen are running at full speed.

China Southern Power Grid, one of the country's two grid operators, recorded a peak electricity load of over 200 million kilowatts in recent days – close to historic highs and weeks earlier than in other years. In the summer of 2022, the extreme heat forced the Chinese authorities to ration electricity consumption.

Other Asian countries are also reaching record temperatures

The heat waves are also arriving in other Asian countries. In the Vietnamese province of Thanh Hoa, a record temperature of 44.1 degrees was measured at the beginning of May – already in April, devastating heat also prevailed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Thailand.

"We can't say these are events that we need to get used to or adapt to and mitigate," said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, "because they're only going to get worse as climate change progresses."