What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China?

The Air Pollution in China

What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China? One of the biggest problems modern-day China is facing today is hazardously high levels of smog and air pollution. My heart always sinks when I look out of the window and see a hazy day — instead of blue skies during the day and lots of stars at night. But smog is hazardous to human health and China is doing impressive things to try and reduce the impact.

What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China?

I have lived and worked in China for over 17 years and have seen a dramatic reduction in air pollution over the recent years. Only a few years ago the smog was so bad I wouldn’t even dare go outside! China is trying everything it can to reduce pollution, however “Rome wasn’t built in a day” so it’s going to take some time for the worlds largest “factory” on Earth to reduce to an acceptable level, but they are trying!

What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China
Air Pollution is a BIG problem in China – at the moment!

Everyone knows that China’s air pollution problem is mainly due to its rapid coal-powered industrialization as well as its millions of motor vehicles. Coal consumption releases lots of particulate matter into the air. These fine particles are particularly troublesome for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions and can lead to shortness of breath and painful breathing. In the worst affected regions in China, this can even lead to lung cancer and premature death. It’s no surprise that these areas also have the best hospitals for treating such conditions!

Particulates less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM 2.5) are the most damaging to human health. All weather apps in China will show you the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) value, which is based on the measurement of PM 2.5 particulates in the air. You can also pull up the local weather online if you need to check. I always wear a face mask outside on the days with the worst AQI and I have several air purifiers in my home. I would have to say that I think the weather in China, and the smog levels, tend to be best in the spring and autumn.

What is the Weather like in China?

China is the fourth-largest country in the world, so it’s no wonder that China exhibits all possible extremes in terms of climate. From soaring mercury in the summer to frosty negative temperatures in the winter, China can test you in all weather conditions.

You can move the map around to see more!

China can be divided into five climatic regions: north and northeast, northwest, central, south, and Tibet:

The Weather in North and Northeastern China

This region, which includes the country’s capital, Beijing, experiences extreme temperatures in both summer and winter. During the hot and dry summers, which generally last from May to August, temperatures quickly rise to more than 30°C, and sometimes even 40°C days are not unheard of.

The winter, on the other hand, can be brutally cold, especially in the area north of the Great Wall, where temperatures can drop to -40°C.

What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China
It can get very cold in the north of China

In Beijing, the coldest month is January, with average temperatures of -10 – 0°C. The wind chill is often much colder, however, due to the cutting northern winds that sweep through the city. I have had a frozen beard on many a stroll around the parks during the winter. In the spring, sand storms from Inner Mongolia charge the air with static electricity and fill your eyes and mouth with sand! Heavy rainstorms are common in the late summer, although June is the month with the most rainfall overall and can flood the streets and people have even disappeared down drains! Beijing experiences its most beautiful days in autumn. This short season of blue skies and breezy days is called tiangao qishuang by the locals, meaning “the sky is high and the air is fresh”.

The Weather in Northwestern China

Few people, and even fewer expats including me, live in China’s northwest. If you do make a trip there while you’re living or traveling in China, you should know that the summers are hot and dry and it is very, very cold in winter. In January in Ürümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the average high only reaches -20°C. This region receives little to no rainfall throughout the year. However there are few places on earth as beautiful as this region of China.

The Weather in Central China

Central China also has hot summers, but they are anything but dry. In fact, three of the larger cities in this area, Wuhan, Chongqing, and Nanjing, have garnered the nickname “The Three Furnaces” due to their sweltering heat and high humidity between April and October. Winters can be miserably cold and wet, but they are fortunately also quite short lasting only a couple of months.

Shanghai, which was my home for 4 years also falls within this climatic zone. As with Beijing, June is the wettest month, although you can expect some rainfall year round. Winter is damp and grey with temperatures hovering around 0 – 5°C (or lower) in January. The best weather in Shanghai is in the spring (April to mid-May) and autumn (September to mid-November). The summer in Shanghai is also hot and humid, with highs around 40°C. The sudden surprising spikes in heat at the end of the summer are called Qiulaohu (Autumnal Tiger).

What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China
It can get so hot in the summer in China

The Weather in Southern China

Unlike in areas to the north, the winters in China’s most southerly provinces are short and mild. It’s still a good idea to pack some warmer clothes, however. On the flip side, summers are long, hot and humid and there is even a rainy monsoon season (April–June). This climatic region also experiences some extreme weather events, with typhoons common on the southeast coast between July and September.

The Weather in Tibet

The weather in Tibet tends to change rapidly, and you may feel like you’ve experienced all four seasons in one day. It’s not unusual for temperatures to start at freezing in the morning and rapidly climb to 40°C in the afternoon. In the winter, however, temperatures remain intensely cold, made to feel even colder by the fierce winds. This region is mostly arid, with the lowest amount of rainfall in the north and west.

rocky mountain under the cloudy sky
The ever-changing weather in Tibet can catch you out!

What is the weather like in Baoding, China?

Where I live, we only really have 2 seasons, summer and winter. The spring is super short and the transition from cold to hot takes about 21 days. The same also applies to our summer to winter transition. We can be walking around in shorts and flip flops and the next week wearing woolly hats and winter coats.

What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China?

My advice is always having a winter coat and bathing costume packed, because you never know if you will need one or the other!

If you like facts about China check out the link below:

What are some cool facts about China?

What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China?
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What is the Air Pollution and Weather like in China?
One of the biggest problems modern-day China is facing today is hazardously high levels of smog and air pollution.
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