The mercury soared to 104.4 degrees (40.2 Celsius) in Isesaki, a city of more than 200,000 people about 50 miles northwest of Tokyo. That marked Japan’s hottest temperature ever observed during June.
The scorching temperatures — both in Japan and elsewhere — are occurring as summer has barely begun with the typically hotter months of July and August still to come.
Isesaki was among “dozens” of locations in Japan to set monthly high temperature records Saturday, according to Thierry Goose, who monitors temperatures worldwide. He tweeted that several locations also set records for their highest temperatures seen in any month.
In Tokyo, the temperature climbed to 95.7 degrees (35.4 Celsius), its third highest June temperature, Goose wrote, and earliest 35 Celsius reading on record, Reuters reported.
The excessive heat also swelled over eastern China Saturday, where 25 locations observed their hottest day on record for any month of the year, according to Maximiliano Herrera, who also tracks global temperatures.
Historic day in China:The NE province of Hebei reached a temperature of 44.2C at Lingshou. No less than 25 main national stations today had their hottest day ever (for any month). Also 40.1C at Tianjin and 39.2C in the capital Beijing. 44C+ outside Xinjiang in 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 zone of high pressure — or heat dome — sprawled over China and curling north over Japan. Underneath these heat domes, the air is pushed downward, clearing skies and making way for the hot summer sun to beat down. The sun is particularly intense right now, just four days removed from the summer solstice.
Planetary warming from the burning of fossil fuels is strengthening these high pressure zones, intensifying and prolonging heat waves.
The extreme heat punishing eastern Asia follows numerous other episodes of record-setting temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere this month.
In the United States, thousands of records have been shattered from California to the Carolinas over the past two weeks as a relentless heat dome centered in the south-central Lower 48 has flexed both westward and eastward. Cities as far north as Minneapolis and Milwaukee topped 100 degrees for the first time in years. Climate Central, a nonprofit science communications group, determined that human-caused climate change made some of these heat records five or more times more likely to occur.
One week ago, Europe was also in the grips of a record-setting June heat wave. On June 18, France’s average (day and night) temperature rose to 81.3 degrees (27.4 Celsius), the highest so early in the year. Hundreds of records were also broken in Spain, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic. The heat helped fuel a rash of fires in several of these countries.
Record heat has extended as north as Arctic Circle and as far south as the Middle East this month. The Russian city of Norilsk, above the Arctic Circle, posted its hottest June day on record Thursday, climbing to 89.6 degrees (32 Celsius). In early June, AccuWeather reported Kuwait saw temperatures as high as 127 degrees (52.7 Celsius).
In Japan, the heat comes after its government asked residents on Tuesday to conserve electricity during the hot summer months, Reuters reported. Three regions, including Tokyo, could see their power supply stretched.
While the heat may ease some over China after the weekend, brutal heat is forecast to remain entrenched over Japan for much of the next week.