China logs 52.2 temperature as extreme weather rewrites records

Temperatures are expected to surpass 53 degrees in Death Valley in the United States

Temperatures around the world are reaching and breaking previous records as parts of the planet struggle to cope with a record summer heatwave.

A remote township in China’s arid northwest endured temperatures of more than 52 degrees on Sunday, state media reported, setting a record for the country.

Temperatures at Sanbao township in Xinjiang's Turpan Depression soared as high as 52.2C on Sunday, state-run Xinjiang Daily reported on Monday, with the record heat expected to persist at least another five days.

The Sunday temperature broke a previous record of 50.3 degrees, measured in 2015 near Ayding in the depression, a vast basin of sand dunes and dried-up lakes more than 150m (492ft) below sea level.


Since April, countries across Asia have been hit by several rounds of record-breaking heat, stoking concerns about their ability to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. The target of keeping long-term global warming within 1.5C is moving out of reach, climate experts say.

Prolonged bouts of high temperatures in China have challenged power grids and crops, and concerns are mounting of a possible repeat of last year's drought, the most severe in 60 years.

Elsewhere, Death Valley in the United States is approaching its record temperature. The valley along part of inland California’s border with Nevada has long been acknowledged as the hottest place on Earth.

Temperatures were expected to reach a high of 53.33 degrees at the aptly named Furnace Creek, meteorologists with the US National Weather Service said.

Death Valley’s brutal temperatures come amid a blistering stretch of hot weather that has put roughly one-third of Americans under some type of heat advisory, watch or warning.

Las Vegas also faced the possibility of reaching an all-time record temperature over the weekend.

Meanwhile, wildfires in Canada have led to air quality alerts in several US states, stretching from Montana to Ohio.

The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 56.67 degress in July 1913 at Furnace Creek, according to an official at the World Meteorological Organisation.

Temperatures at or above 54.44 degrees have only been recorded on Earth a handful of times, mostly in Death Valley.

“With global warming, such temperatures are becoming more and more likely to occur,” the World Meteorological Organisation said.

A combination of long-term human-caused climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is making the world hotter by the decade, with ups and downs year by year.

Many of those ups and downs are caused by the natural El Niño and La Niña cycle. An El Niño cycle, the warming of part of the Pacific that changes the world’s weather, adds even more heat to the already rising temperatures.

The US climate envoy, John Kerry, is in Beijing for meetings with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua.

Methane emissions and China’s coal consumption are expected to be at the top of Mr Kerry’s agenda in his first formal talks with Mr Xie in nearly a year. The pair will probably also discuss preparations for the Cop28 climate summit later this year. – Agencies