China warns of more extreme weather in 2023

SINGAPORE, Feb 6 (Reuters) - China's regions have been warned to prepare for more extreme weather this year after record-breaking temperatures and a lengthy drought played havoc with the country's power supplies and disrupted harvests last summer.

China's southern regions need to brace for more persistent high temperatures and ensure that energy supplies are available to meet the summer demand peak, while northern regions need to prepare for heavy floods, said Song Shanyun, spokesman at the China Meteorological Administration, at a briefing on Monday.

"At present, global warming is accelerating... and under the impact of climate change, the climate system is becoming increasingly unstable," Song said.

China was hit last June by a heatwave that lasted more than 70 days, damaging crops, drying up lakes and reservoirs and causing devastating forest fires throughout the Yangtze river basin. In August, as many as 267 weather stations registered their highest temperatures to date.

A sharp drop in rainfall in the southwestern regions of Sichuan and Chongqing also forced hydropower facilities to cut output. Local industries had to restrict operations and electricity deliveries to the eastern coast were also affected.

Average temperatures in China over the whole of 2022 reached 10.5 degrees Celsius, 0.62 Celsius higher than average, Jia Xiaolong, a government expert told the same briefing on Monday, with mean temperatures in spring, summer and autumn at their highest on record.

Average rainfall in China last year was 5% lower than normal, he added. (Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Barbara Lewis)