The mercury soared to 104.4 degrees (40.2 Celsius) in Isesaki, a city of more than 200,000 people about 80 km northwest of Tokyo. This marked the hottest temperature ever seen in Japan in June.
The scorching temperatures – both in Japan and elsewhere – come as summer has only just begun with the generally warmer months of July and August still to come.
Isesaki was among “dozens” of places in Japan to set monthly high temperature records on Saturday, after Thierry Goose, which monitors temperatures around the world. He tweeted that several places also set records for their highest temperatures seen in a month.
In Tokyo, the temperature soared to 95.7 degrees (35.4 degrees Celsius), its third highest temperature in June, Goose wrote, and the first reading of 35 degrees Celsius on record, Reuters reported.
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Excessive heat also swelled over eastern China on Saturday, where 25 locations observed their hottest day on record for any month of the year, according to Maximiliano Herrerawhich also tracks global temperatures.
Historic day in China: Hebei province in the northeast reached a temperature of 44.2 C in Lingshou. As many as 25 major national stations experienced their hottest day on record (for any month) today. Also 40.1C in Tianjin and 39.2C in the capital Beijing. 44C+ outside of Xinjiang China is very rare. pic.twitter.com/ZOFMKdtgzQ
— Extreme temperatures around the world (@extremetemps) June 25, 2022
The heat is the result of an intense area of high pressure – or heat dome – extending over China and winding north over Japan. Beneath these heat domes, air is pushed down, clearing the sky and making way for the hot summer sun. The sun is particularly intense right now, just four days from the summer solstice.
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Global warming from the burning of fossil fuels reinforces these high pressure areas, intensifying and prolonging heat waves.
The extreme heat hitting East Asia follows many other bouts of record-breaking temperatures in the northern hemisphere this month.
In the United States, thousands of records have been broken from California to the Carolinas over the past two weeks as a relentless heat dome centered in the south-central Lower 48 flexed both west and to the east. Cities as far north as Minneapolis and Milwaukee exceeded 100 degrees for the first time in years. Climate Central, a nonprofit science communication group, has determined that human-caused climate change is making some of these record highs five times more likely to occur.
A week ago, Europe was also grappling with a record-breaking heatwave in June. On June 18, the average temperature (day and night) of France rose to 81.3 degrees (27.4 degrees Celsius), the highest so early in the year. Hundreds of records have also been broken in Spain, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic. The heat has helped fuel a wave of fires in several of these countries.
Record heat extended north to the Arctic Circle and south to the Middle East this month. The Russian city of Norilsk, above the Arctic Circle, recorded its hottest June day on record on Thursday, soaring to 89.6 degrees (32 degrees Celsius). At the beginning of June, AccuWeather reported Kuwait has experienced temperatures as high as 127 degrees (52.7 Celsius).
In Japan, the heat comes after its government on Tuesday asked residents to conserve electricity during the hot summer months, Reuters reported. Three regions, including Tokyo, could see their power supply strained.
While the heat may ease a little over China after the weekend, the brutal heat is expected to remain entrenched over Japan for much of next week.