Temperatures in the city are likely to hit new highs in the years ahead, Hong Kong's top weatherman has warned. The Hong Kong Observatory predicted up to seven typhoons would come close to the city this year.
The Observatory's director, Shun Chi-ming, said the city should be prepared for more temperature records. We should also expect more frequent heatwaves and hot spells, and fewer cold days.
Shun could not provide an exact forecast but said if he had to "roll the dice" his bet was that this summer would be "a bit warmer".
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Shun urged the public to recognise that climate change was "here and now". He said positive action was needed without further delay.
Last year was Hong Kong's - and the Earth's - hottest recorded year in more than a century. Temperatures between June and November averaged about 27.6 degrees Celsius. "The number of hot nights and very hot days will increase in the 21st century," Shun said.
He said according to the Observatory's own calculations, the number of winter days with temperatures below 12 degrees could "drop to just one per year" by mid-century, although he said this prediction was subject to "many variables".
"The fact is some people still don't believe in climate change and think it is all just a theory," said Shun. "It's not only about higher temperatures. We'll also have more extreme weather patterns."
He also said four to seven typhoons could come within 500km of the city this year. He said this was "normal" and similar to last year's total of four.
Shun added that sea levels could also rise in the future. Higher sea levels mean that typhoon-generated storm surges could be dangerous for the city's coastal areas.