Japan endures hottest summer on record


Japan is sweltering through its hottest summer on record, weather officials said on Thursday.

Japan joined many parts of the Northern Hemisphere in seeing an unusually hot summer. Meteorologists say 17 nations have recorded all—time—high temperatures this year, more than in any other year, and scientists have said that July was the hottest month on record for the world’s oceans.

Across Japan, temperatures soared higher than historical averages by 2.96 degrees Fahrenheit (1.64 degrees Celsius) from June through August, the highest since 1898 when records began, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

That’s higher than the previous record set in the summer of 1994. In Tokyo, temperatures have climbed as high as 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius).

Soaring temperatures sent more than 46,000 people to the hospital this summer, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. Some 150 people died from heat stroke.

The heat, however, has been good for the economy. A government report this week showed that retail sales rose 3.9 percent from a year earlier, as consumers bought cold drinks, summer clothing and cooling products.

Weather officials attributed the jump to global warming and a particularly strong high—pressure system in the Pacific Ocean. The nationwide average is based on temperatures recorded at 17 locations around the country.

To judge the average temperature for the country, the Japan Meteorological Agency compares average temperatures to the 30—year average from 1971 and 2000 in each location.

The temperatures track a global pattern of extreme heat this summer.

In Russia, a heat wave unprecedented in 130 years of record—keeping triggered thousands of wildfires, while a surge in temperatures across much of Europe caused crops to wither and roads to melt.

Figures released in the U.S. show record summer heat for many cities across the north-eastern part of the country. In early August, scorching temperatures and high humidity prompted heat advisories for 18 states.Japan has endured its hottest summer since records began in 1898, the meteorological agency said Wednesday, during a heatwave that saw thousands of people taken to hospital suffering heatstroke.

The average temperature nationwide between June and August was 1.64 degrees Celsius above average for the period, forecasters said.

The previous record margin was 1.36 degrees C set in 1994.

The agency did not say what the average temperature was, but Tokyo’s summertime temperatures averaged 27.1 degrees C (80.78 Fahrenheit).

In August, the mercury often soared above 35 degrees C in many areas of the country, the agency said.

“It can be said that weather was abnormal in this summer,” an agency official, Shuhei Maeda, told a news conference. “The temperature is forecast to exceed 35 degrees centigrade in many places for a week to come.”

Scorching summer weather led to at least 132 deaths and saw more than 30,000 people taken to hospital with heatstroke, the government said in mid-August.
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