Climate change caused cold snap

2010-01-12 20:39

Beijing - Experts believe climate change caused China's record cold spell and is likely to bring more extreme winter weather to many northern areas over the next few decades, state media on Tuesday quoted scientists as saying.

Climate change caused temperature rises in many regions of the world but also brought more severe winters to latitudes north of 40 degrees, Kuang Yaoqiu, a geochemist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the official China Daily.

"It means a higher risk of more extreme weather like freezing winters, snowstorms and scorching heat in the coming five decades," Kuang said.

Kuang said air warmed by carbon emissions and other human activity circulated around the Earth and forced more cold air from the southern hemisphere to move northwards.

The cold air had brought freezing temperatures to most northern regions this winter, he said.

Beijing, which lies at 39 degrees north, recorded its lowest temperature for nearly 40 years and its heaviest snowfall since 1951.

Many other areas of northern, central and eastern China have also recorded record low temperatures and snowfall.

Meteorologists estimate that the average winter temperature is 2ºC - 4ºC warmer than usual in southern China, but 2ºC - 4ºC colder in the north, Wang Yongguang, chief forecaster for China's National Meteorological Centre, was quoted as saying.