In recent weeks, the most extreme heat recorded in the world’s history has hit China. Lakes, rivers and crops have dried up. The water level in dams is depleting at a concerning rate that authorities are curbing electricity generation and shutting down factories to be able to transmit power to households.
Furthermore, there is a rising demand for air conditioners, car batteries, solar panels and food as the heat crisis, which has lasted for close to 70 days, has affected 900 million people living across 17 Chinese provinces. Recent reports say that the temperatures from Sichuan in the southwest to Shanghai in the east have peaked at 40C.
According to Cai Wenju, a researcher with Australia’s national scientific research institute, CSIRO stated that the likely cause of the extreme heat was a special case of high pressure from a West Pacific subtropical high extending over much of Asia.
What this means
The extreme heat and drought situation in China has resulted in the blockage of shipping routes by cargo vessels. Therefore, there is a cut in the supply chain for car manufacturers, including Toyota, Volkswagen and Tesla, assembly plants such as Intel and Apple and battery makers such as Amperex Technology, amongst others.
Efforts by the government
China has adopted a practice called cloud seeding to relieve residents of the extreme heat. This practice involves sowing silver iodide into the clouds through drones and rockets to recreate rainfalls.
What to watch
There is a likely food shortage that might result from the crisis as since the start of the crisis, the Sichuan province alone has lost 47,000 hectares with another 433,000 hectares seared. China is currently facing severe shortages in the harvest of rice and wheat. Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine, the major suppliers of wheat, barley and corn, are at war, cutting off about 20 percent of the total market. This implies a looming food crisis.