Temperatures in the Chinese capital Beijing topped 40 degrees Celsius for a record third day on 24 June.
This represented the first time that three straight days above 40C have been experienced since records began. It was also the highest temperature ever recorded in China’s capital during the month of June.
Beijing’s all-time high of 41.9C, since modern records began, occurred on July 24 1999.
Aside from Beijing, parts of nearby Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Inner Mongolia and Tianjin either raised or kept their hot weather alert at ‘red’, the highest in China’s four-tier warning system. A red alert signifies the temperature could exceed 40C within 24 hours.
Chinese meteorologists say the current heatwave has been caused by warm air masses associated with high-pressure ridges in the atmosphere, compounded by thin cloud covers and long daylight hours around the summer solstice.
Other countries in Asia have experienced deadly heatwaves in recent weeks, which scientists say are aggravated by rising global temperatures, caused partly by the burning of fossil fuels.
In China, the heatwave has coincided with a three-day public holiday, the Dragon Boat Festival, devoted to eating rice dumplings and racing boats propelled by teams of paddlers.
Beijing’s weather authorities urged residents to avoid exercising outdoors for long periods and take measures to shield from the sun.
Temperatures in the capital are expected to drop to around 34C today before rising again later in the week.