WunderBlog Archive » Weather Extremes

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UPDATE June 3: Record Heat Wave in Northeast Asia
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
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Heat Flood

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

I'm amazed that Beijing's May heat record was broken by such a wide margin. How long has there been a reliable temperature record there?
The Beijing Observatory climate records go back to 1951, but other sites in the city have longer POR's but none of these have ever attained a figure higher than the 41.1%uFFFDC as measured yesterday during the month of May. One site, the 'Beijing Capital' site (ZBAA) reached 42.0%uFFFDC (107.6%uFFFDF) yesterday May 30th. The data from this site, however, is not considered official.
2014,the Year the CO2 induced Global Forcing's Strike back.

That heat and the polluted air ... will probably never get a realistic estimate of the death toll from the government.

Edit: I see the blog says about Japan: "where hundreds have ended up in hospitals due to heat-related exhaustion".
Quoting 4. bappit:

That heat and the polluted air ... will probably never get a realistic estimate of the death toll from the government.

I doubt there will be many heat-related deaths from this event. The humidity was very low (10-15%) at the time of the maximum temperature observations and the heat wave just a few days long. Nothing like the heat wave that affected China last summer which was persistent (weeks on end) and involved high humidity, No one knows how many died last summer from that event, but it was probably in the hundreds if not thousands..
Quoting 1. DonnieBwkGA:

I'm amazed that Beijing's May heat record was broken by such a wide margin. How long has there been a reliable temperature record there?

Beijing Observatory started around 1880s (i don t remember the exact year now). Data has been pretty much reliable all the time, but it has been tabled and fully digitalized since 1951.
Only three main Chinese cities have all-time highest temperature records previous to 1951: Beijing in 1942, Chongqing in 1933 and Shenyang in 1920 (this was in a different location compared to the current station). Old Shanghai record,dated 1934, was smashed last summer. Thus, there are many all time record coldest temperatures which are dated before 1951.
I was in Taegu almost 20 years ago. Very hot and humid area, but I can't imagine how uncomfortable it must be during this heat wave.
such extreme heat increase is not a good sign for health and safety of Chinese people.

re: health risks, can you please post the Relative Humidity and Heat Stress Index for such reports, to get a better idea of health hazards?

BTW, the nighttime minimum temp was also unusually hi on 5/30 (26 C), which raises the risk of poor recovery of body from daytime heat stress.
The temperatures are big in Japan

A deadly heatwave sweeps across Japan and hospitalises hundreds.

As noted elsewhere, the relative humidity during this event was relatively low (dewpoints around 10 C) compared to what can happen in that part of the world later in the summer.

I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing a 29 C dewpoint on my one visit to Beijing in August 2005 (at least it gave me some good stories to scare aspiring Olympic marathoners with, although as it turned out nothing that extreme occurred during the 2008 Olympics themselves).
So is it really a record heat wave as the blog title states if the humidity is so low?

The temps are anomalous but how do we measure impact? Other weather hazards are similarly difficult to describe. For instance, the famed Saffir Simpson Scale ignores the worst threat a tropical cyclone can create. It is a mediocre measure of whether a TC has a major impact or not. (My favorite gripe about Dr. Masters is repeatedly ignoring Ike when talking about major Atlantic hurricane landfalls--but that is a very minor gripe!)

FWIW We get plus 100 temps in March and April in the valley (that's Rio Grande valley) of Texas and further north. Those temps seem to be related to adiabatic heating of warm dry air from the west after passage of a dry line. The relative humidities are way low when that happens even at a place like Corpus Christi which is on the coast. It does not seem to have much impact when it happens.
The heat seems to be combined with very strong sandstorms: Iran, China earlier (and I remember to have stumbled over similar news from other Asian countries too the last week):

Iran sandstorm kills at least four in Tehran
BBC (with video), 2 June 2014 Last updated at 16:41 GMT
A powerful sandstorm has hit Iran's capital, Tehran, killing at least four people and injuring about 30.
At its peak, the storm brought winds of up to 110km/hour (70mph), knocking over trees and damaging windows.
Eyewitnesses told the BBC the sky turned orange from thick dust brought on by the storm. Such strong storms are unusual in Tehran, correspondents say.
The storm caused power cuts and traffic accidents from poor visibility as dust and sand engulfed parts of the capital. ...

China: 100 rescued from highway during hurricane
Telegraph, June 2, 2014
Footage emerges of firefighters battling against gale force winds to rescue over 100 people stranded on a highway during a hurricane in China ...

Some metereological background:

Sandstorm lashes parts of China
BBC weather video, 2 June 2014 Last updated at 17:06 Help
A sandstorm lashed China's Xinjiang trapping motorists. Emergency services arrived in an armoured personnel carrier to rescue people. Meanwhile flash floods deluge Hunan Province lowering the temperatures after a recent heatwave. Darren Bett reports for BBC World.
These heat waves breaking records by such large margins scare me. Australia had terrible heat earlier this year. I think we are in big trouble.
Really, no lack of heat wave news ...

Heat wave kills, hospitalizes over 1,600 in Japan
03/06/2014 | 10:29 AM | World News
TOKYO, June 3 (KUNA) -- A total of 1,637 people were taken to hospital by ambulance with symptoms of heatstroke in the week through June 1 in Japan, four of whom died, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. ...

Egyptians urged to cover up as heat wave hits the country
Egypt braces for hot weather, with Tuesday and Wednesday temps topping 40 Celsius
Ahram Online , Monday 2 Jun 2014
Egypt is expected to be hit by a scorching heat wave on Tuesday and Wednesday, says the state's meteorological authority (EMA).
According to weather forecasters, daytime temperatures will range from 38 to 40 Celsius on Tuesday across most Egyptian governorates, while night-time temperatures will range from 26 to 30 Celsius.
On Wednesday, the temperatures are expected to be hotter, bringing official warnings of skin damage from over exposure to the sun.
Temperatures on Wednesday will range from 42 to 44 Celsius at midday, down to 35 Celsius by the evening. ...

Heat wave grips North India; Jaisalmer sizzles at 45.8 deg C
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
June 3, 2014 Last Updated at 19:36 IST
That Egyptian news article contains an odd statement.

"On Wednesday, the temperatures are expected to be hotter, bringing official warnings of skin damage from over exposure to the sun."

I would think that UV would be the issue for skin damage and would be independent of the surface temp. Is something else happening?
Heat Spurs Record-Breaking Weather in Moscow
The Moscow Times, Jun. 04 2014 12:03, Last edited 15:11
A heat wave that hit Moscow on Wednesday broke a 117-year-old weather record, forecasters said.
Temperatures in the capital reached 28.6 degrees Celsius by 1 p.m. and broke the city's record temperature for June 4, Russia's meteorological center said on its website. On this day in 1897, Moscow recorded a temperature of 27.9 degrees C.
The meteorological center earlier said that temperatures could reach between 28 and 30 degrees C.
Muscovites will have the opportunity to bask in the sun for the rest of the week, as temperatures are expected to reach up to 31 degrees C on Friday and Saturday, the weather agency said Wednesday on its website. The record for June 5 is 30.4 degrees C, set in 1988.
Local authorities announced earlier this week a plan to distribute bottled water to commuters at several of the city's metro stations if temperatures exceed 28 degrees C.

"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)."

Up 6ppm in past 2 years. just sayin..

Soot (deposited) > CO2.

heat island effect > CO2.

Asphault and Concrete > CO2
Quoting 17. Wyote:

"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)."

Up 6ppm in past 2 years. just sayin..

Forests and fields converted to sub-divisions and shopping malls with black roofs, black roads, black parking lots, and cars with closed windows, and water heaters in every home, and all our ovens and air conditioners' waste heat, ignoring CO2?

It's a lot friend, a lot lot lot.

If we take the laws of thermodynamics, all of the energy we use for technology which is not capture is eventually released as waste heat (or light which strikes surfaces, gets absorbed and eventually converted to waste heat) and this in turn drives up temperature, even neglecting CO2. This amount of energy is truly colossal, and is enough to melt the entire discrepancy of sea ice in the arctic every year, even in the absence of consideration for CO2 or other effects.

I still think man-made albedo changes and unavoidable waste heat production are as big or bigger impact than CO2.

Consider a high rise building in a city.

When the Sun is on the horizon, the face of that building is normal to the sun's rays, so it is getting ~1000 watts per meter square across the face of it's wall. A shorter building would not present a significant profile to the Sun, and therefore would not collect nearly as much heat. When you calculate that across something the size of the World Trade Center, you are talking scores of megawatts of energy, a large amount of it, the portion that doesn't get reflected away, getting converted to heat.

Now add up all the buildings who's profile is not blocked by other buildings when the Sun is on or near the Horizon, and you see that the "solar footprint" of an advanced city is much greater than a local town per unit area, because it's almost like having heliostats maximizing the amount of sunlight trapped in the city.

We are going to have enormous problems with Solar Power even.

While Solar Power produces almost no CO2 pollution, it uses enormous amounts of steel and concrete with mirrors (oil and molten salt methods,) to collect heat for boiling water. However, if you want 10 megwatts of electricity, the generator is perhaps 30 to 40% efficient, so you collect 30 megawatts of heat which is converted to steam, not counting perhaps another 30 megawatts of heat which escaped the system before it even got to the generator, but was heat collected over and above the natural albedo rate of the environment.

Thus Solar power, both boiler and PV based, will produce an albedo-induced global warming effect.

You can't escape some degree of increase above a 100% natural environment by any means I'm aware of.

Wind is probably the least disruptive power technology, but it is nowhere near as energy dense as direct capture of sunlight.
First heatwave of 2014 to bring highs of 34C
Published: 05 Jun 2014 17:20 GMT+02:00
This weekend is set to be the hottest Pentecost public holiday for at least 50 years, with temperatures forecast to reach 34C (93,2F) in some parts of Germany. ...
RT: all the CO2 generated by the fossil fuel energy we use is the space blanket that's holds the heat effects you mention in our atmosphere. It's all linked together to create the energy imbalance that we're feeling every day. You are correct to bring those man made effects to the fore but there has to be a trapping effect to force the climate. That is supplied by the GHGs.
Dr. Masters mentioned some excessive heat readings in Mexico in his latest entry.
RTSplayer@19: There's no significant albedo effect of solar power to speak of. The following post does the math:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/200 9/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

Similarly, increasing CO2 is shown to be the primary forcing during the past 30+ years:
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/the-real-g lobal-warming-signal/
It's always a good idea to do the math before making blanket assertions.
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