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Geography of Shanghai

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Geography of Shanghai

The geography of Shanghai is characterised by its location on the Yangtze River Delta on China's east coast and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean via the East China Sea. The city is centred on the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, and extends outwards in all directions, with the suburbs and satellite towns reaching east to the East China Sea, north and west to Jiangsu province, and south to Zhejiang province over Hangzhou Bay.


The vast majority of Shanghai's land area is flat, apart from a few hills in the southwest corner, due to its location on the alluvial plain of the Yangtze's river delta. The city has many rivers and lakes and is known for its rich water resources, and thanks to its coastal, riverside location and warm climate ensuring ice-free waters, provides easy access to China's interior, resulting in Shanghai being the world's largest port.


Shanghai is located in the middle of China's east coast, near the mouth of the Yangtze River, being one of the core cities in the Yangtze River Delta region and one of the coastal cities in China. It is bordered by the Yangtze River to the north, the East China Sea to the east, Hangzhou Bay to the south, and Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces to the west. The city is roughly equidistant to Beijing and Hong Kong, and is located at 31°12′N 121°30′E, roughly the same latitude as San Diego, New Orleans, Bermuda, Marrakech, Cairo, Jerusalem, and Lahore. Cities within mainland China that lie on approximately the same longitude include Fuxin, Jinzhou, Dalian, Yantai, Ningbo, and Taizhou (Zhejiang). The municipality lies about due north of Taipei and Manila.

  • Latitude: 30° 42' to 31° 52' N
  • Longitude: 120° 52' to 121° 58' E
  • Area

  • Municipality:
  • Total: 6,340.5 km2 (2,448.1 sq mi)
  • Land: 6,218.65 km2 (2,401.03 sq mi)
  • Water: 121.85 km2 (47.05 sq mi)
  • Waterways

    Shanghai contains 53.1 km (33.0 mi) of rivers and streams and is part of the Lake Tai drainage area. Suzhou Creek is 125 km (78 mi) long and has an average width of 70 to 80 meters, while the Huangpu River is 80 km (50 mi) long and is around 400 meters wide.

    Shanghai's development of the deep-water port of Yangshan in Zhejiang was made necessary by the increasing size of container ships but also the silting of the Yangtze, which narrows to less than 20 meters (66 ft) as far out as 45 miles (70 km) from Hengsha.


    The Municipality of Shanghai administers a number of islands around its peninsula, including most of Chongming Island (1,267 km2 or 489 sq mi), the second-largest island of mainland China. Chongming, Changxing (88.54 km2 or 34.19 sq mi), and Hengsha (55.74 km2 or 21.52 sq mi) comprise the permanently inhabited islands of Shanghai, while the city's 19 uninhabited islands covered 226.27 km2 (87.36 sq mi) in 2006, with a total coastline of 309 kilometers (192 mi).

    Most of Shanghai's islands are small alluvial islands () created by the natural deposition of vast amounts of silt by the Yangtze River. The major islands () of Chongming, Changxing, and Hengsha in Chongming County were formed in this way, as were the shoals of Jiuduansha (114.6 km2 or 44.2 sq mi) off of Pudong. The natural expansion of these islands has been greatly accelerated by reclamation projects, with Chongming more than doubling in size between 1950 and 2010. Unlike the islands of Chongming County, Jiuduansha was expanded and protected as an uninhabited nature reserve to make up for the wetlands destroyed by the creation of Pudong International Airport. It is an important spawning ground for Shanghai's hairy crab community, as well as other maritime and avian species. A few islands in Hangzhou Bay off Jinshan District are rocky islands (also ). Dajinshan, Xiaojinshan, and Fushan are municipal nature reserves. The peak of Dajinshan is the highest point in the Municipality of Shanghai, with altitude of 103.4 meters (339 ft).

    Shanghai does not administer the islands of Greater and Lesser Yangshan, the site of the Port of Shanghai's Yangshan Deep-Water Port. Instead, the belong to Zhejiang Province, despite being linked via the Donghai Bridge to Pudong. Similarly, Chongming's absorption of Jiangsu's Yonglongsha shoal produced a long but narrow exclave of that province on its northern shore.


    Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen 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.

    Climate statistics of 2013:

  • Average annual temperature: 17.6 °C (63.7 °F)
  • Highest recorded air temperature: 39.9 °C (103.8 °F)
  • Lowest recorded air temperature: −4.2 °C (24.4 °F)
  • Annual hours of sunshine: 1,885.9
  • Evaporation: 1,120.5 mm (44.1 in)
  • Precipitation: 1,173.4 mm (46.2 in)
  • Annual rainy days: 111
  • Frost-free period: 259 days
  • Cityscape

    Shanghai city proper is bisected by the Huangpu River: Puxi, on the west side, is the historic centre of the city, and includes the districts of Yangpu, Hongkou, Zhabei, Putuo, Changning, Xuhui, Jing'an, Luwan and Huangpu. Pudong is located on the east side and is the location of Shanghai's rapid development, including its new famous skyline and the Lujiazui financial district.

    The outer districts, or suburbs, surround the city proper, and are Baoshan, Minhang, Jiading, Jinshan, Songjiang, Qingpu, Nanhui, Fengxian, and the rural eastern part of Pudong.

    Chongming is Shanghai's only county and lies north of the Shanghai Peninsula on three inhabited islands in the Yangtze estuary: Chongming, Changxing, and Hengsha.


    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.


    Geography of Shanghai Wikipedia