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March 29, 2012

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Warmest day means spring is here

YESTERDAY'S warmth made it official: Spring has settled in Shanghai.

With ample sunshine, downtown Shanghai's temperature reached 26.1 degrees Celsius about 1pm, the highest reading this year.

Meteorological spring is announced when the average day-and-night temperature reaches 10 degrees for five consecutive days after lichun, the start of spring in the Chinese lunar calendar. Shanghai's average temperature has been above 10 degrees since last Saturday, which makes it the first day of spring. Last Saturday also marks the end of the 107-day winter that began on December 8, according to the observatory.

The long winter exceeded the average of 93 days by two weeks.

Meanwhile, the city should be cooler tomorrow as a cold front moves in, with the high set to plunge to 15 degrees Celsius, the observatory said. The low of this weekend should drop to 5 degrees. Showers are expected today and tomorrow.

Shanghai's air was lightly polluted yesterday, and the local environment watchdog warned people with respiratory and heart diseases and weak immune systems to stay indoors.

The Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center released figures of major air pollutants, including PM2.5 particles which showed air pollution, rose quickly in the morning and reached a peak around midday.

At noon, PM2.5 particles measured over 119 micrograms per cubic meter in the city's Putuo District and 125 micrograms per cubic meter in Pudong's Zhangjiang High-Tech Park. China's acceptable daily limit for PM2.5 is 75 micrograms per cubic meter.

PM2.5 not only affects visibility but poses major health risks as the tiny particles are small enough to lodge deep in the lungs and can even enter the bloodstream, causing premature death and chronic diseases.

The air quality today is expected to be good, the second-best in a five-tier category.


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