Why is it 32°C in October?

Hong Kong’s weather this summer – it’s October, but with these temperatures, it’s safe to still say summer – has brought insane amounts of precipitation, from both the sky  and people’s bodies.

Every summer feels hotter and longer than the previous one. Does it simply feel that way or is it reality? If you look at the temperatures, they certainly are rising. For the last two decades, temperatures have been rising by 0.15 degrees Celsius a year. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Climate change
    The most obvious reason, and also a phrase that’s been shoved down people’s throats, is: climate change. According to The Hong Kong Observatory, “almost every corner of the globe has experienced a warming trend throughout the 20th century” and Hong Kong is no exception. The icebergs are melting, the water levels in Victoria Harbor is rising, and the heat is increasing. October has barely begun, and 2017 has already reached the maximum recorded number of hot nights in a year.
  2. Local urbanization
    A specific reason to Hong Kong is local urbanization. Take a walk for an hour and you’ll lose count of the number of construction sites you see. Construction, the pollution it brings and its end-product; a building blocking wind, are all helping hands for why you sweat so much.
  3. Humidity
    The average humidity level in Hong Kong is about 90% in the summer, and many times goes up to the high 90s. To go into the science of this; the water vapor in the air conducts heat, which is why you feel the heat more than you would in a dry country with the same temperature.
  4. Population density
    Too many people everywhere, whether it’s in the MTR stations, public buses, Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mong Kok, etc. Hong Kong’s pavements and areas are too small to accommodate the absurd number of people: 57 250 persons per square kilometre is the highest an area goes up to in Hong Kong. An exchange student at The University of Hong Kong, baffled by the number of people, said “there are queues for everything, I never imagined how much time I would spend just waiting in line every day, it’s ridiculous.”
  5. Lack of insulation laws
    Most countries worldwide have laws regarding insulation in residential buildings to protect from the temperature outside, thereby reducing the amount of energy used by air-conditioners or heaters.

Albert K. H. Kwan, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at The University of Hong Kong said, “buildings in Hong Kong are not designed for heat insulation”, because there are no insulation laws in Hong Kong.


Writer: Preya

Copy editor: Ning Sang

Editor: Alexa

Online: Cynthia

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