Hong Kong - Geography and Climate

Geography and Climate

Hong Kong is located on China's south coast, 60 km (37 mi) east of Macau on the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta. It is surrounded by the South China Sea on the east, south, and west, and borders the Guangdong city of Shenzhen to the north over the Shenzhen River. The territory's 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) area consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, and over 200 offshore islands, of which the largest is Lantau Island. Of the total area, 1,054 km2 (407 sq mi) is land and 50 km2 (19 sq mi) is inland water. Hong Kong claims territorial waters to a distance of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km). Its land area makes Hong Kong the 179th largest inhabited territory in the world.

As much of Hong Kong's terrain is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than 25% of the territory's landmass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land area is reserved as country parks and nature reserves. Most of the territory's urban development exists on Kowloon peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong Island, and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories. The highest elevation in the territory is at Tai Mo Shan, 957 metres (3,140 ft) above sea level. Hong Kong's long and irregular coast provides it with many bays, rivers and beaches. On 18 September 2011, UNESCO listed the Hong Kong National Geopark as part of its Global Geoparks Network. Hong Kong Geopark is made up of eight Geo-Areas distributed across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region.

Despite Hong Kong's reputation of being intensely urbanised, the territory has tried to promote a green environment, and recent growing public concern has prompted the severe restriction of further land reclamation from Victoria Harbour. Awareness of the environment is growing as Hong Kong suffers from increasing pollution compounded by its geography and tall buildings. Approximately 80% of the city's smog originates from other parts of the Pearl River Delta.

Though it is situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa). Summer is hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, and warm air coming from the southwest. Summer is when typhoons are most likely, sometimes resulting in flooding or landslides. Winters are mild and usually start sunny, becoming cloudier towards February; the occasional cold front brings strong, cooling winds from the north. The most temperate seasons are spring, which can be changeable, and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Hong Kong averages 1,948 hours of sunshine per year, while the highest and lowest ever recorded temperatures at the Hong Kong Observatory are 36.1 °C (97.0 °F) and 0.0 °C (32.0 °F), respectively.

Climate data for Hong Kong (Hong Kong Observatory), 1884–1939, 1947–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 26.9
(80.4)
28.3
(82.9)
30.1
(86.2)
33.4
(92.1)
35.5
(95.9)
35.6
(96.1)
35.7
(96.3)
36.1
(97.0)
35.2
(95.4)
34.3
(93.7)
31.8
(89.2)
28.7
(83.7)
36.1
(97.0)
Average high °C (°F) 18.6
(65.5)
18.9
(66.0)
21.4
(70.5)
25.0
(77.0)
28.4
(83.1)
30.2
(86.4)
31.4
(88.5)
31.1
(88.0)
30.1
(86.2)
27.8
(82.0)
24.1
(75.4)
20.2
(68.4)
25.6
(78.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.3
(61.3)
16.8
(62.2)
19.1
(66.4)
22.6
(72.7)
25.9
(78.6)
27.9
(82.2)
28.8
(83.8)
28.6
(83.5)
27.7
(81.9)
25.5
(77.9)
21.8
(71.2)
17.9
(64.2)
23.24
(73.84)
Average low °C (°F) 14.5
(58.1)
15.0
(59.0)
17.2
(63.0)
20.8
(69.4)
24.1
(75.4)
26.2
(79.2)
26.8
(80.2)
26.6
(79.9)
25.8
(78.4)
23.7
(74.7)
19.8
(67.6)
15.9
(60.6)
21.4
(70.5)
Record low °C (°F) 0.0
(32.0)
2.4
(36.3)
4.8
(40.6)
9.9
(49.8)
15.4
(59.7)
19.2
(66.6)
21.7
(71.1)
21.6
(70.9)
18.4
(65.1)
13.5
(56.3)
6.5
(43.7)
4.3
(39.7)
0.0
(32.0)
Rainfall mm (inches) 24.7
(0.972)
54.4
(2.142)
82.2
(3.236)
174.7
(6.878)
304.7
(11.996)
456.1
(17.957)
376.5
(14.823)
432.2
(17.016)
327.6
(12.898)
100.9
(3.972)
37.6
(1.48)
26.8
(1.055)
2,398.4
(94.425)
% humidity 74 80 82 83 83 82 81 81 78 73 71 69 78.0
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 5.37 9.07 10.90 12.00 14.67 19.07 17.60 16.93 14.67 7.43 5.47 4.47 137.65
Mean monthly sunshine hours 143.0 94.2 90.8 101.7 140.4 146.1 212.0 188.9 172.3 193.9 180.1 172.2 1,835.6
Source #1: Hong Kong Observatory
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory

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