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Climate
2004/03/08
             China is situated in the eastern part of the Eurasian continent,
          the largest continent in the world. The country's east coast faces
          the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest ocean. China's climate is
          influenced by strong monsoons that cause a northwestern wind in
          winter and a southwestern wind in summer.
             Because of periodic changes in the monsoons and the influences of
          terrain, China's diverse climate comprises four distinct seasons, as
          well as tropical rain forests, deserts, cold waves, cyclones, and
          spring showers. The monsoons cause rainfall and temperatures to
          fluctuate greatly from region to region. China's temperatures range
          from tropical to temperate and to frigid.
             China's January mean temperatures are much lower than
          temperatures in other countries at the same latitude; mean
          temperatures in July are much higher. For instance, Huma in China's
          Heilongjiang Province is at the same latitude as London, (51°-
          52°N). London's January mean temperature is 3.7°C, while in Huma it
          is -27°C.
             China's highest monthly mean temperature is in July; its lowest
          monthly mean temperature is in January. Because of maritime
          influence, places such as Qingdao on the eastern coast may retain
          the highest temperatures through August.
             Southwestern China, which is influenced by monsoons coming from
          the Indian Ocean, has its highest yearly mean temperature in June.
          The rainy season begins after June as the temperature begins to drop
          in places like Lhasa.
             The differences between the highest summer temperatures and the
          lowest winter temperatures increase gradually from south to north
          and from east to west. The annual difference in the Pearl River
          Valley (southern China) is 15°C, it is 25°C in the middle and lower
          reaches of the Yellow River (north-central China), 34°- 40°C north
          of the Great Wall (northern China) and in the northeastern Liaohe
          River valley, and in excess of 40°C in both the Heilong River valley
          (northern northeast) and in Turpan in Xinjiang (northwestern China).
          Annual mean temperatures also differ among regions. The Xisha
          Islands and those areas south of them in the South China Sea have
          the highest annual mean temperature in China: more than 26°C. The
          Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, with an average altitude of 4,000 meters
          above sea level, has an annual mean temperature below zero.
          Qomolangma (Mount Everest) has an annual mean temperature of -29°C.
          The highest temperature appears in the Turpan Basin in the Xinjiang
          Uygur Autonomous Region, where it reaches 49.6°C; the lowest
          temperature appears in Mohe in Heilongjiang Province, where it
          reaches -52.3°C. Rainfalls in the three summer months make up 60
          percent of China's total annual rainfall. Rainfalls
          decrease gradually from the southeastern coast (1,000-2,000 mm, the
          highest is 8,408 mm in Taiwan) to 100-200 mm in the northwest.
          Eastern Xinjiang, the center of the Eurasian Continent and also the
          center of China's arid regions, has an annual rainfall of less than
          50 mm. Toksun in the Turpan Basin receives the least annual
          rainfall: only 3.9 mm. China's complex climate and its differences
          in temperature, humidity, and precipitation provide good conditions
          for agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry. Many of the world's
          animal and plant species can be found in China.
         


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