Geography and climate
The urban area of Shanghai can be seen in this false-color satellite image.
Shanghai sits on the Yangtze River Delta on China's east coast roughly equidistant between Beijing and Hong Kong. The municipality as a whole consists of a peninsula between the Yangtze and Hangzhou Bay, China's third largest island Chongming, and a number of smaller islands. It is bordered on the north and west by Jiangsu Province, on the south by Zhejiang Province, and on the east by the East China Sea. The city proper is bisected by the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The historic center of the city, the Puxi area, is located on the western side of the Huangpu, while the new Pudong financial district has developed on the eastern bank.
The vast majority of Shanghai's 6,218?km2 (2,401?sq?mi) land area is flat, apart from a few hills in the southwest corner, with an average elevation of 4?m (13?ft). The city's location on the flat alluvial plain has meant that new skyscrapers must be built with deep concrete piles to stop them sinking into the soft ground. The highest point is at the peak of Dajinshan Island at 103?m (340?ft). The city has many rivers, canals, streams and lakes and is known for its rich water resources as part of the Taihu drainage area.
A park in the center of Shanghai
Public awareness of the environment is growing, and the city is investing in a number of environmental protection projects. A 10-year, US$1 billion cleanup of Suzhou Creek, which runs through the city center, is expected to be finished in 2008, and the government also provides incentives for transportation companies to invest in LPG buses and taxis. Air pollution in Shanghai is low compared to other Chinese cities such as Beijing, but the rapid development over the past decades means it is still high on worldwide standards, comparable to Los Angeles.
Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa) and experiences four distinct seasons. In winter, cold northerly winds from Siberia can cause nighttime temperatures to drop below freezing, and although not usually associated with snow, the city can receive one or two days of snowfall per year. In contrast, and in spite of being the peak tourist season, summer in Shanghai is very warm and humid, with occasional downpours or freak thunderstorms. The city is also susceptible to typhoons, none of which in recent years has caused considerable damage. The most pleasant seasons are Spring, although changeable, and Autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Shanghai experiences on average 1,778 hours of sunshine per year, with the hottest temperature ever recorded at 39?°C (102?°F), and the lowest at ?5?°C (23?°F). The average number of rainy days is 112 per year, with the wettest month being June. The average frost-free period is 276 days.
|[hide]Weather averages for Shanghai
|Average high °C (°F)
|Average low °C (°F)
|Precipitation mm (inches)
|Source: BBC 2008