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December 2, 2013

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Smog lingers as Shanghai issues air quality warning

Smoggy conditions are forecast to continue in Shanghai today with the air remaining heavily polluted.

The air quality index stayed above 200 after 1pm yesterday and had soared to 312 by 9am today, the sixth grade and also the highest level of air pollution.

The density of PM2.5 particles peaked at 240 micrograms per cubic meter — more than three times the nation’s limit of 75 — between 11am and noon, the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center said.  It rose further to 292 micrograms per cubic meters at midnight. Meanwhile, PM10 density peaked at 362 micrograms per cubic meter at midnight, more than double the 150 limit.

The center issued a warning that children, the elderly and those suffering heart problems or respiratory illnesses should stay indoors while others were advised to cut down on outdoor activities.

Such conditions are expected to continue tomorrow as weather conditions make it unlikely that the pollutant particles can be dispersed. 

However, the arrival of a cold front on Wednesday may mean an improvement in air quality.

“The stable air condition and the dominance of high pressure resulted in the air pollutants’ accumulation,” Wu Rui, a chief service officer at the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, said yesterday.

The midweek cold front is likely to bring overcast skies to the city, but there should be little wind and rain. 

Temperatures today will hover between 5 and 14 degrees Celsius, and the weather should be dry. Tomorrow should see a rise to 17 degrees but that will be followed by a mostly downward trend toward the weekend.

Lows on Wednesday and Thursday will range from 6 to 7 degrees, and the highest temperature will be around 15 degrees before falling to 12 degrees on Friday.



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