Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
By: Christopher C. Burt , 7:27 PM GMT on May 30, 2014
UPDATE: June 3: Record Heat Wave in Northeast Asia
The unprecedented early summer heat wave that affected northeastern China, Mongolia, and the Koreas on May 26-31 has shifted eastward to center over Japan since June 1st and has brought all-time record heat to the northern island of Hokkaido. On June 3rd a reading of 37.8°C (100.0°F) was recorded at Komaba tying Hokkaido’s all-time heat record (for any month) also set at Obihiro on July 12, 1924. At least four heat-related fatalities have been reported and 1,600 hospitalizations due to heat exhaustion.
Twelve official JMA sites on Hokkaido Island have measured their all-time record high temperatures (for any month) on June 2-3. Omu reached 35.1°C (95.2°F), an all-time record, and some 36°F above its normal high for June 3rd of 14.9°C (58.8°F). Monbetsu Airport also recorded an all-time record of 35.2°C (95.4°F) as did Shikaoi with 36.0°C (96.8°F). Sapporo, the island’s principal city, recorded an all-time June monthly record with 32.9°C (91.2°F) surpassing the previous June record of 31.9°C (89.4°F) set on June 29, 1948. Sapporo has a POR dating back to 1877.
Residents of Tokyo shade themselves from the 33.1°C (91.6°F) temperature measured in the city on Sunday June 1st. Photo AFP.
A dome of high pressure over northeastern China has resulted in some remarkable temperatures for the region the past few days. Beijing saw its May monthly record high temperature shattered on Thursday when a reading of 40.2°C (104.4°F) was measured, only to see that figure in turn overtaken by a 41.1°C (106.0F) on Friday May 30th. The previous May record for Beijing was 38.3°C (100.9°F) on May 14, 1968. Beijing’s all-time record high remains a 42.6°C (108.7°F) temperature measured in June 1942. Tianjin reached 40.5°C (104.9°F) on May 30th which ties its all-time heat record for any month.
It has been an exceptionally warm May in Beijing with the average maximum temperature of 29.2°C (84.6°F) about 3°C (5.4°F) above the average of 26.2°C (79.2°F). Climate table from OGIMET.
In the city of Shijiazhuang, 180 miles southwest of Beijing, the temperature peaked at 42.8°C (109.0°F) on May 30th, just short of the city’s all-time (any month) record of 42.9°C (109.2°F) set on July 15, 2002. This is almost as warm as what may be the all-time May record for China of 43.6°C (110.5°F) set in Turpan on May 28-29, 1965 according to climatologist Maximilliano Herrera. However, the Turpan Depression, which is a thousand miles west of Shijiazhuang, is the ‘Death Valley’ of the nation and scorching temperatures in May are not unusual. Bught, China smashed its all-time heat record (for any month) with a 38.0°C (100.4°F) reading on May 31st (old record was 36.8°C/98.2°F set on July 24, 2001). Also, Tongliao broke its all-time heat record with 39.4°C (102.9°F) on My 31st (previous record 39.1°C/102.4°F on two occassions in 1951 and 2007).
The heat has been notable in the Koreas as well. In South Korea the temperature peaked at 37.4°C (99.3°F) at Taegu on May 31st and in North Korea 36.1°C (97.0°F) at Hamheung on May 29th. The South Korean figure was an all-time national record for the month of May surpassing the previous record of 37.0°C (98.6°F) set at Jinju on May 25, 2000.
Mongolia came close to setting its all-time May heat record with a 36.7°C (98.1°F) temperature at Khalkh Gol on May 31st. The May record of 37.0°C (98.6°F) set at Sainshand on May 26, 1974 still stands.
In Siberia, a reading of 37.2°C (99.0°F) was registered at Borzja on May 31st. It is difficult to know if this was a record May record for any Siberian location.
KUDOS: Maximiliano Herrera for historical Chinese temperature records and Yusuke Uemura for Japanese temperature records..
Christopher C. Burt
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