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Mercury Drops To Record Low In Much Of China

January 3, 2013

By Paul Homewood


Storm Turns the Taklimakan Desert White


Snow-covered deserts are rare, but that’s exactly what the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite observed as it passed over the Taklimakan Desert in western China on January 2, 2013. Snow has covered much of the desert since a storm blew through the area on December 26. The day after the storm, Chinese Central Television (CNTV) reported that the Xinjian Uygyr autonomous region was one of the areas hardest hit.

The Taklimakan is one of the world’s largest—and hottest—sandy deserts. Water flowing into the Tarim Basin has no outlet, so over the years, sediments have steadily accumulated. In parts of the desert, sand can pile up to 300 meters (roughly 1,000 feet) high. The mountains that enclose the sea of sand—the Tien Shan in the north and the Kunlun Shan in the south—were also covered with what appeared to be a significantly thicker layer of snow in January 2013.


According to China Daily, much of the rest of China is also affected and the cold weather is forecast to head further south. They report:-


People in many parts of China welcomed the new year in record-low temperatures, and the cold weather is expected to move farther south, the National Meteorological Center said on Wednesday.

Snow, ice and rain will hit parts of central and southern China over the next few days, and may make travel treacherous for motorists, the center said.

The average temperature in China since the beginning of winter has been -4.1 C, 1.2 degrees lower than normal, according to the China Meteorological Administration. The winter in northern and northeastern China is the coldest in the past 27 years, the administration said.

Beijing is experiencing one of the coldest New Year’s holidays in its meteorological history, the municipal observatory said on Wednesday, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The observatory forecast that the cold snap accompanied by powerful wind would lower the temperature to -14 C on Wednesday, approaching the record of -16 C.

In Inner Mongolia autonomous region, north of Beijing, the temperature has dropped to -40 C with snow on ground piling up 50 centimeters in some areas of the Greater Hinggan Mountains.

Unsurprisingly, Zhou Botao, an expert at the National Climate Center, blames it on global warming telling us:-

The extreme cold has largely been attributed to the shrinking of ice in the Arctic caused by global warming”.

That, of course, would explain why the coldest January on record in Beijing,  according to GISS, was 1977, when the Arctic ice had just spent a decade expanding.


Back to the drawing board, methinks, Mr Zhou.

  1. January 3, 2013 7:55 pm

    I wonder if Mr. Zhou can tell us how 1 month of somewhat lower ice extent in September can have drastic effects on temperature in China in late December. I really am curious about this “September effect”.

  2. slimething permalink
    January 4, 2013 1:38 am

    What do you make of this analysis for Texas 2012?

    • January 4, 2013 10:35 am

      It ‘s worth running a post on this. I’ll do one later today.



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