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New Study Finds No Increase In Heatwaves In China

February 3, 2013

By Paul Homewood


A new study by Chinese scientists has examined temperature records from 1958-2008 in the Three Gorges Area. They have found no evidence of heatwaves becoming more frequent or longer lasting. Although “high temperature events” decreased during the 1970’s, before increasing during the 1990’s, their frequency is currently at the same level as the 1950’s and 60’s.


60-year cycles? Now where have I heard of that before?


Reposted from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.


Deng, H., Zhao, F. and Zhao, X. 2012. Changes of extreme temperature events in Three Gorges area, China. Environmental and Earth Sciences 66: 1783-1790.

In response to an increase in mean global air temperature, the world’s climate alarmists contend there will be more frequent and stronger extremes of various weather phenomena, including what would seem almost assured: more frequent and extreme high temperatures and heat waves. But is this really so?

In an effort to address this question within the Three Gorges area of China, which comprises the Chongqing Municipality and the western part of Hubei Province, including the reservoir region of the Three Gorges Dam, Deng et al. used daily mean, maximum and minimum temperatures for the period 1958-2007 that they obtained from ten meteorological stations within this region to determine the number of hot days (HDs, at or above 35°C), very hot days (VHDs, at or above 38°C) and extremely hot days (EHDs, at or above 40°C). And defining a heat wave (HW) as a period with no fewer than three consecutive HDs, they defined a short heat wave (SHW) as being at least six days long, and a long heat wave (LHW) as a heat wave exceeding six days.

The three Chinese researchers report that over the course of their study period (1958-2007), their study area did indeed experience a mean annual warming trend, but with slight decreasing trends in spring and summer temperatures. They also say that extreme high temperature events showed a U-shaped temporal variation, decreasing in the 1970s and remaining low in the 1980s, followed by an increase in the 1990s and the 21st century, such that "the frequencies of HWs and LHWs in the recent yeas were no larger than the late 1950s and early 1960s." In fact, they indicate that "coupled with the extreme low frequency in the 1980s, HWs and LHWs showed a slight linear decreasing trend in the past 50 years." Put another way, they say that the most recent frequency of heat waves "does not outnumber 1959 or 1961," and that "none of the longest heat waves recorded by the meteorological stations occurs in the period after 2003."

In concluding their discussion of their findings, Deng et al. write that "compared with the1950s and 1960s, SHWs instead of LHWs have taken place more often," which change, as they describe it, "is desirable, as longer duration leads to higher mortality," citing Tan et al. (2007). And so it is that for the Three Gorges area of China, even a mean annual warming trend over the past half-century, has not led to an increase in the frequency of extremely long heat waves.

Additional Reference
Tan, J., Zheng, Y. Song, G., Kalkstein, L.S., Kalkstein, A.J. and Tang, ZX. 2007. Heat wave impacts on mortality in Shanghai, 1998 and 2003. International Journal of Biometeorology 51: 193-200.

  1. February 4, 2013 7:16 am

    The Chinese and Indian governments have as much political interest in minimising the effects of Global Warming as the alarmist activists have in maximising those effects. Shouldn’t we takes the same amount of care when analysing both warmist and Chinese government sponsored papers?

  2. Brian H permalink
    February 7, 2013 11:02 am

    Au contraire! The Chinese want Westerners to keep frantically buying the solar panels and gargantuan windmills they make, and to eschew all that nasty oil and coal and stuff. I.e., keep the prices of what they sell up, and prices of what they buy down.

    Both are facilitated by the CAGW delusion.

    That the US frac-gas reserves are now thought by some experts to be “effectively infinite” and the tight oil and other liquid resources about equal to the rest of the planet combined is mixed news for them. OTOH, it cuts down their renewables-gear sales. OTOH, it takes the US off the world oil buyers list and drives prices down. Reality can be a beach, battered by waves!

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