BEIJING (Reuters) – Lingering Haze Envelops Beijing; Relief Anticipated as Cold Front Approaches
On Wednesday, a persistent veil of haze shrouded the skies over Beijing, and meteorologists have indicated that conditions in other parts of northern China might deteriorate further. However, there is a glimmer of hope, as a cold air mass sweeping in from the northwest is expected to disperse the smog.
Experts have linked the prolonged haze in Beijing, which has persisted for several days, to poor atmospheric dispersion due to unseasonably weak cold air currents from the north.
The China Meteorological Administration reported that visibility in most areas of Beijing had plummeted to less than 500 meters (546 yards).
“I didn’t expect the smog to be so severe these days. I’ve almost exhausted the supply of masks I brought with me,” remarked a 24-year-old Beijing tourist, surnamed Gao.
In some regions, thick winter fog exacerbated the hazy conditions, reducing visibility to less than 50 meters in parts of Hebei province and Tianjin city.
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment has predicted moderate to heavy air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area and surrounding cities until Thursday, with intermittent spells of severe conditions.
While northern areas are anticipated to witness an improvement in the first half of this month, pollution may persist in the southern regions, as noted during the ministry’s agency meeting.
“The overall environmental situation has been improving in recent years, but in the past few days, smog has made a return. We are not certain about the exact causes,” expressed an 82-year-old Beijing resident, surnamed Liu.
Unusually warm temperatures, akin to early summer, have been recorded in certain places, with some areas experiencing temperatures 10 degrees Celsius above the norm. These conditions are expected to persist until Thursday, with records likely to be broken in major cities like Jinan, Zhengzhou, and Shijiazhuang.
In the last ten days of October, Beijing’s observatory reported an average temperature that was 3.4 degrees Celsius higher than the historical norm, breaking records for the same period since 1961, according to local media reports.
Despite the unseasonably warm conditions, a cold front is forecasted to arrive on Thursday night, which could result in a significant drop in temperatures, potentially reaching new lows.