Chinese tourists flock to ‘Flaming Mountains’ despite heat wave

Tourists flocked to China’s scenic Flaming Mountains this week to experience searing high temperatures amid punishing heat waves that have scorched much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Armed with broad-brimmed hats and umbrellas for added protection, tourists took selfies by a 12-meter (6.5 feet_-tall thermometer that displayed a real-time surface temperature of 80 Celsius (176 Fahrenheit), Chinese state television showed on Wednesday.

Each summer, curious tourists gather at the Flaming Mountains on the northern rim of the Turpan Depression of China’s Xinjiang region to admire their corrugated slopes of brown-red sandstone and feel the super-charged heat emanating from the ground.

In recent days, temperatures in Xinjiang and other parts of Asia, as well as Europe and the United States have shattered records, adding new urgency for nations around the globe to tackle climate change that scientists say will make heatwaves more frequent, severe and lethal.

On Sunday, a remote township in the Turpan Depression registered a maximum temperature of 52.2C, smashing China’s national record of 50.3C that was also set in the basin in 2015.

On that day, the oasis city of Turpan west of the Flaming Mountains recorded temperatures at 31 local weather stations above 45C, with the maximum at five of them breaking above 50C, according to state media on Wednesday.

Farmers in Xinjiang, one of the world’s biggest producers of cotton, have been told to step up watering and irrigation to prevent their crops from withering in the scorching sun.

On Tuesday, Beijing logged its 27th day of temperatures of more than 35C, setting a new record for the most number of high-temperature days in a year. The Chinese capital’s previous record was 26 days, set in 2000.

The sweltering heat is occurring as envoys from China and the United States – the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters – have been holding intense, marathon talks in Beijing this week on fighting climate change.

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