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August 13, 2012

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Heat, more pollution return this week

HIGH temperatures will return this week, reaching 35 to 36 degrees Celsius while high humidity will make it feel hot and stuffy, city forecasters said yesterday.

Shanghai ended its longest recorded period - 21 consecutive days - with excellent air quality over the weekend, and the air quality in upcoming days won't return to the best level.

Locals celebrated the blue sky and white clouds of the past three weeks and many posted pictures. The cleanest air quality ended on Saturday and air quality of both days of the weekend was "good" but not as high as "excellent."

Yesterday the average PM2.5 index of the city kept rising from the wee hours level of 30 micrograms per cubic meter to around 67 by 4pm. Then the PM2.5 index started to drop to 47.5 micrograms per cubic meter by 9pm.

The nation's standard for PM2.5, which measures very fine particulates, is 75 micrograms per cubic meter.

During the three weeks of record-breaking clean air, Shanghai had easterly winds, including typhoons, bringing clean air from the sea. The city began monitoring particulates in 1999.

"With the departure of Typhoon Haikui, the light winds and the increase in humidity, which favor the retention of pollutants, caused the drop in local air quality," Fu Qingyan, vice chair engineer of Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, said yesterday. "The air quality won't get better quickly in upcoming days under the current meteorological conditions."

No rain is forecast for the first four days of the week, though it will be cloudy from today to Thursday. With the strengthening of the subtropical high, the city's temperature reached 34 degrees Celsius yesterday. The high temperature today will be 35 degrees Celsius and tomorrow, 36 degrees, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.


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