Summer 2021 could be among hottest on record for Hong Kong

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  • The Observatory predicted five to eight typhoons for the year, with the season beginning in June, and said storms may be more severe
  • The increase in ‘hot nights’ and ‘very hot days’ may be a result of global warming
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A woman fights against strong winds during a typhoon in Tsim Sha Tsui. Scientists predict storms could be especially severe this year. Photo: SCMP /Winson Wong

This summer could be among the hottest on record in Hong Kong, meteorologists have predicted. It would be among the hottest on record in the city for the third year running.

Forecasters at the Hong Kong Observatory said the city could expect between five and eight cyclones in 2021, and with the past two years in the top 10 for high temperatures this year could be equally uncomfortable for residents.

On Tuesday, the Observatory’s director, Dr Cheng Cho-ming, said the annual mean temperature this year would rise above normal, with a strong chance of 2021 reaching the top 10 hottest years since records began in 1884.

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“It’s worrying because it really indicates that global warming is here,” he said. “We can’t say that in the next one to two years whether we will break the record, but at least we are seeing that the global warming effect will be there.”

There was also a record high 50 “hot nights” in 2020, when daily minimum temperatures reached 28 degrees or higher. The year also logged a new high of 47 “very hot days”, with daily maximum temperatures reaching 33 degrees or above.

The Observatory predicts the city’s annual typhoon season may start in June or earlier, and expects around five to eight tropical cyclones coming within 500km of Hong Kong.

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While Cheng said the expected start of typhoon season was “not really abnormal”, and it was hard to predict the severity, he warned Hong Kong may see more severe storms as an “effect of global warming”.

“The mean temperature is on the rise, that means it can hold more water vapour and that water vapour is energy for tropical cyclones to develop,” he said.

“So, the general trend is that if this continues, there will be more energy for the tropical cyclone to develop. That means a tropical cyclone can develop into a very intense one.”

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