Resilient cities - Hong Kong report: extreme heat




Hong Kong is renowned for being a cosmopolitan and diverse city, with nearly 7.5 million people living there. It is estimated that it has a population density of 6,300 people per square kilometre. 2 By way of example, the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (“MTR”) domestic service carried an average of 4,844,000 passengers every weekday in May 2019. 3 Hong Kong often experiences extreme weather events. In 2014 Hong Kong experienced hailstones the size of golf balls. In 2017 it was engulfed in a dense fog that hid the city, then later that summer there were five typhoon level 8 4 warnings, resulting in closure of banks, businesses, schools and most public services. More recently and consistent with the general increase in extreme weather events globally, Hong Kong has been prone to severe heat.

There is no universal definition of what constitutes extreme heat. Generally speaking, extreme heat occurs when summertime temperatures are much higher and/or humid than average and will vary between different locations. The concerns for Hong Kong temperature rise become more apparent and critical when considering recent statistics. In 2018 alone, there were 36 “very hot” days where the daily maximum temperature was equal to or greater than 33 o C. 5 The Hong Kong Observatory (“HKO”) recorded an average temperature of 19.1°C between December 2018 and February 2019. This represents the highest temperature recorded during winter since records began in 1884.





Causes of extreme heat

Effects of extreme heat



Building resilience to extreme heat


The time when Hong Kong has no winter is just around the corner. 6

−− Shun Chi-ming, Director of the HKO

2 Section 2(a) and 2(b) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 of India 3

4 There are five typhoon signals in Hong Kong, namely levels 1, 3, 8, 9 and 10. Level 8 stands for gale or storm and is highest level of typhoon typically issued by the HKO. Levels 9 (increasing gale or storm) and 10 (hurricane) can occur, but only in extremely rare situations. 5 6 chi-ming/

Made with FlippingBook HTML5