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Japan logs “extreme heat” in 2nd largest number of areas in July

A cumulative total of 2,435 locations in Japan recorded temperatures of 35 C or higher in July, in the month’s second-highest figure of areas hit by “extreme heat” since records began in 2012, weather agency data showed Tuesday.

The Japanese archipelago has been enveloped in a high-pressure system from the Pacific Ocean, leading to continued hot weather. The Japan Meteorological Agency expects the heat to persist due to global warming and this year’s El Nino phenomenon, in which ocean surface temperatures rise in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.

On Thursday, Hirakata in west Japan’s Osaka Prefecture recorded a scorching 39.8 C, the country’s highest recorded temperature so far in 2023. Central Tokyo also saw extremely hot weather for 13 days, a new July record.

People walk in the summer heat near Tokyo Station on July 31, 2023. (Kyodo)

The country’s July total was only eclipsed by that for July 2018, when temperatures of 35 C or above were observed at a cumulative total of 3,127 locations across Japan, and Kumagaya in Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, logged the country’s highest-ever temperature of 41.1 C.

Sweltering temperatures have been seen across the world this year, with the World Meteorological Organization saying Thursday that July was set to be the hottest month on record. Japan’s weather agency also acknowledged that the country saw remarkably hot weather in the last two weeks of the month.

With the heat expected to run into August and even beyond, the weather agency urged the public to take measures to prevent heat exhaustion.

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World average temperature hits record high at 17.24 C: WMO

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