Japan set a new national temperature record in the third week of a punishing heat wave that has killed dozens.
The mercury soared to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41.1 degrees Celsius) on Monday in Kumagaya, about 40 miles northwest of Tokyo, the country’s highest temperature on record. For perspective, 106 degrees is also the highest temperature on record in both Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The mark surpassed the previous record 105.8 degrees (41.0 Celsius) set in Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture, during August of 2013.
Dozens of locations in Japan set record highs Monday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, and 241 individual weather stations hit at least 95 degrees (35 Celsius).
In the city of Ome on the west side of Tokyo, the mercury touched 105.4 degrees (40.8 degrees Celsius), its highest temperature ever recorded.
Japan has staggered through blistering heat since the second week of July, resulting in scores of daily, monthly and all-time heat records throughout the country.
Kyodo News reports that at least 77 heat-related deaths have occurred, including 12 on Monday, and thousands have been hospitalized.
The Japan Meteorological Agency held a special news conference on Monday to discuss the extraordinary hot weather and its dangers, while cautioning that heat is forecast to last into early August. “This heat is a threat to life. We recognize it as a natural disaster,” an official said, according to Kyodo News.
Excessive heat was also observed in both South and North Korea on Monday, the Associated Press reported. “South Korea’s highest-ever morning low was recorded in the city of Gangneung, where the temperature was 31 C (88 F) at 6:45 a.m.,” it wrote. “The morning low in Seoul was 29.2 C (84.6 F), a record for the country’s capital, according to South Korea’s weather agency.”
The heat is the result of an intense area of high pressure aloft, sometimes called a heat dome, which has stagnated over the region for days. This long-duration heat wave comes on the heels of Japan’s worst flooding event in decades that killed more than 200 people.
Japan is just one of many parts of the Northern Hemisphere enduring sweltering heat. On Monday, the United Kingdom registered its hottest temperature of the summer, as a town in Suffolk hit 92 degrees (33.3 Celsius).
Late last week, a heat wave in Scandinavia resulted in new all-time high temperature records, over 90 degrees, as far north as inside the Arctic Circle. This extreme heat intensified a historic wildfire outbreak in Sweden.
In the Lower 48 states, Dallas’s Love Airport posted four straight days with high temperatures of at least 110 degrees, its longest streak on record. This week, in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is predicted to have its longest stretch of hot weather.
Below is a brief summary of locations around the Northern Hemisphere that have witnessed all-time record heat since June:
- In North America: Multiple locations in Southern California; Denver; Montreal; Mount Washington, N.H.; and Burlington, Vt.
- In Europe: Multiple locations in Norway, Finland and Sweden; Glasgow, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; Belfast and Castlederg, Northern Ireland.
- In Eurasia: Multiple locations in central and eastern Russia; Tbilisi, Georgia; and Yerevan, Armenia.
- In the Middle East: Quriyat, Oman, which posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded on June 28: 109 degrees (42.6 degrees Celsius).
- In Africa: Ouargla, Algeria, which may have posted the highest temperature in Algeria and the entire African continent on July 5: 124.3 degrees (51.3 degrees Celsius).
- In Asia: In addition to Japan, Taiwan may have posted its highest temperature on record.
Collectively, all of these exceptional heat milestones are consistent with what is expected in a warming world, as concentrations of greenhouse gases from human activity continue to accumulate.