BEIJING, June 11 — An extreme heat warning was in place in Beijing today, with temperatures soaring across northern China as a swathe of the northern hemisphere baked under record highs.

China is the biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases that scientists say are driving climate change and longer, hotter heatwaves.

Today, authorities in Beijing issued an orange alert for extreme heat, the second-highest level in a four-tier system.

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They warned that the mercury could climb as high as 37 degrees Celsius in some parts of the capital.

The municipal government urged residents to reduce time spent outdoors, drink plenty of water and monitor children, pregnant women and the elderly for signs of heatstroke.

Over 20 weather stations in the northern province of Hebei and the eastern province of Shandong posted local heat records for early June yesterday afternoon, the state-run China National Radio (CNR) reported, citing the national weather office.

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And high temperatures of up to 42 degrees Celsius are forecast to persist until Friday across northern, northwestern and central areas, including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shaanxi, Hubei, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, according to the national weather office.

But heavy downpours were expected further south, with up to 70 millimetres of rain threatening parts of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces today and tomorrow, the weather office said.

Soaring temperatures

Last month was the hottest May on record and was the 12th consecutive month of historic heat on Earth, the EU climate monitor announced last week.

Countries across the northern hemisphere have logged sweltering heatwaves as they move into the summer months.

India’s top weather expert said yesterday the country’s current heatwave was the longest ever recorded, with parts of the nation — itself a significant greenhouse gas emitter — seeing temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius since mid-May.

Parts of the western United States have also seen record heat for this time of year, while the island nation of Cyprus last week suspended outdoor work and food delivery services as the mercury hit 43 degrees Celsius.

China has pledged to bring emissions of carbon dioxide — a common greenhouse gas — to a peak by 2030 and to net zero by 2060.

The country has been whiplashed by extreme weather in recent years, from intense heat and droughts to torrential rains that have triggered floods, mudslides and other disasters. — AFP