Records broken from Japan to Italy


Monthly and historic records have been broken in at least half a dozen countries, from Europe to Asia, over the past week. None of these events were typical for June either.

Driving the news: Japan, Italy, Norway, Iran and Finland are some of the latest nations to see heat records fall like dominoes in an extraordinary month.

Why is this important: Studies show that as the climate warms, the frequency of heat waves increases dramatically, as does the severity and longevity of these events.

  • Research into contributors to individual heat waves, such as the deadly Pacific Northwest event of June last year, has determined that some would have been “virtually impossible” without additional amounts of greenhouse gases. greenhouse in the atmosphere.
  • Extreme heat is deadly, ranking as the top weather-related killer in the United States in a typical year. It can also put a strain on power grids, especially in countries suffering from drought and struggling with a global energy crisis following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

State of play: Rome equaled its hottest temperature record ever and set a June milestone on Tuesday, with a reading of 105.4°F. Florence and Naples also set monthly records this week, according to weather historian Maximiliano Herrera.

  • Italy is also experience severe drought, resulting in water conservation measures in some areas. As in the southwestern United States, drought can allow temperatures to soar even higher than they usually would.

The big picture: The northern hemisphere is experiencing record heat in several places simultaneously during an atypical month for it. Most all-time heat records date from July or August.

  • With a heat dome in place over parts of Europe and low pressure to the west, ultra-warm air from Africa was pulled north-northeastward, all the way to the Arctic.
  • Tromsø, Norway, above the Arctic Circle, reaches 86°F June 28. This was a monthly record and was within half a degree of an all-time high for that location.
  • Mehamn, Norway, also in the Arctic in the far north of the country, hit 87.4°F on Wednesdayerasing the previous June high of 77.7°F.
A schoolboy uses a towel to protect his head from the sun at the Asakusa temple on June 30 in Tokyo. Photo: David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Enlarge: Japan is in the grip of one of its worst heat waves on record, period, let alone in June. The heat is distinguished by both its intensity and its persistence.

Tweet showing the record heat in Japan on Thursday.
Tweet showing the record heat in Japan on Thursday, June 30, 2022.
  • “Tokyo Metropolitan Government staff have been asked to work in darkness,” according to the Post. “In supermarket freezers across the country, lights were turned off and in home goods stores, electrical appliances were unplugged.”

The bottom line: Heat waves are a typical summer hazard, but climate change is making them and other extreme weather events more dangerous, capricious and frightening.

  • And July starts tomorrow.


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