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August 5, 2010

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Temp readings under a cloud

AFTER three straight record-breaking days of high temperatures, many people have said at online chat rooms that Shanghai forecasters were not reporting the true temperature.

A screen-capture posted online showed more than a dozen meteorological stations across the city had temperature readings above 40 degrees Celsius. The highest reading was 41.5 degrees.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau's yardstick Xujiahui station recorded Tuesday's peak temperature at 39.6 degrees, the hottest day of the year. This was given as the general temperature for the whole city.

Netizens also questioned whether the Xujiahui station was accurate since it was shaded by buildings.

Weatherman said the Xujiahui station is the best placed to provide weather information for the city because it meets the bureau's criteria.

The criteria are: The thermometer has to be in a ventilated place, it should be in a case 1.5 meters above the ground, and the case should be above a grassy area, said Li Jinyu, a chief service officer of the bureau.

Li said the meteorological station in Xuhui "represents the temperature in natural conditions" while others may not meet all three conditions and can only be used for reference.

Li said some stations were placed on rooftops and others exposed thermometers directly in the sun. He said these measurements were used to provide data for analysis and were not representative.

Yesterday the temperature dropped nearly 10 degrees for a couple of hours after a thunderstorm soaked the city.

Precipitation peaked at 65.1 millimeters in the Heping Park area between Hongkou and Yangpu districts.

The temperature dropped from 37 degrees to 28.5 degrees, according to the meteorological station in Xuhui District.

The bureau issued an orange heat alert, a yellow thunder alert, a yellow thunderstorm alert and a blue gale alert yesterday in accordance to the changing weather.

Forecasters said the mercury will continue to drop slowly this week.


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