It’s unusually cold in Hong Kong this week, with temperatures dropping to below 10C in some areas of the city. Since the cold weather warnings were introduced in 1999, this has been the coldest November on record, easily prompting locals to dig for warm clothing a full month ahead of schedule. Not too long ago, Hong Kong also experienced the coldest February in 40 years, putting the claim of global warming in question. While experts predict that Hong Kong’s winters may disappear in 50 years, that’s not in the mind of many people shivering in cold these days.
It’s not unusual that these temperatures evoke excitement for Hong Kong people who flocked to Fortress and Broadway electronics shops to buy heaters and to wardrobe shops to get warmer jackets. As temperatures drop in their low 20s, some women even start pulling out their trench coats and wear them as they fashionably walk in the city’s main streets. A quick scapegoat is often the year-long winter season inside the office.
To skeptics about global warming, these cool, chilly days may support their case. But if we examine clearly, Hong Kong’s cold weather may only be part of an extreme weather pattern. Remember that last August, while I was away for my wedding and honeymoon most of the time, Hong Kong experienced the hottest weather in recent memory. It was hard to imagine how it feels to experience winter season. But here it is.
One can’t rule out the question that if the Earth has considerably warmed in recent decades, did it ever snow in Hong Kong in the past? According to Hong Kong Observatory, yes it did snow in Hong Kong for a few days in the second half of last century:
02 Feb 1967 at Cape Collinson
13 Dec 1967 at Tai Mo Shan
29 Jan 1971 at Tai Mo Shan
14 Dec 1975 widespread throughout New Territories
While frost is often reported at Hong Kong’s highest point (Tai Mo Shan), snow in Hong Kong is just part of memory. As long as we continue to experience winter in Hong Kong – minus the snow – let’s enjoy this break while it lasts.