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China's Climate


The Manchurian Plain in northeast China experiences hot and dry summers, with July temperatures averaging between 21 and 31°C (70 and 88°F). The provincial capital at Harbin, along the banks of the Sungari River, averages 27°C (81°F) during July and August. Across northern and central China, summertime can be quite hot with almost continual rainfall. The desert regions of China's northwest and western interior get hot in summer, but at least it's dry. Average high temperatures vary from 20 to 33°C (68 and 91°F) in July. The Turpan Depression in northwest China, which sits150 m (-492 ft) below sea level, more than deserves the title of the 'hottest place in China' with maximums of around 47°C (117°F).

Summertime in eastern China means not only heat, but humidity. In both the north and south most of the rain falls during summer and plenty of rain can be expected in July and August. The combination of high temperatures and high humidity make for an oppressive climate. In the Yangtze River valley area, including Shanghai, summers are long, hot and humid. The Chinese have dubbed the cities of Wuhan, Chongquing, and Nanjing "the three furnaces."  Summer in Beijing is not long, despite the heat. Although the Chinese capital's average high temperature in July is 30°C (86°F), there are a few unbearably hot days when the mercury can climb to 38°C (100°F) or more.

Summers in Tibet and Qinghai Province are comfortable, with valley temperatures around 24°C (75  F) in July. The snow line in the north and east climbs to between 5000 m and 6000 m, and in the south it's even higher. Still, temperatures can drop dramatically in the shade and at night.

The semi-tropical summer climate of southern and southeastern China brings a substantial amount of rainfall during the summer months. In the far south, around Guangzhou (Canton), the heat and humidity have their greatest impact from around April through September. The average high temperature in Guangzhou in July is 32°C (90°F), with days when the temperature climbs to 38°C (100°F). On Taiwan, summer average temperatures rarely surpass 32°C (89.6°F). August is the hottest month among China's South China Sea Islands, when the average temperature rises to 29.5°C (85.1°F). An additional feature of summer in southern China is the potential for typhoons between July and September.


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