China weather: Record rains, heat as weather turns choppy
From the snow-capped peaks of Tibet to the tropical island of Hainan, China is sweltering in the worst heatwave in decades as rainfall hit record highs in June.
Extreme heat is also hitting Japan, and erratic weather is causing problems for other parts of the world in what scientists say has all the hallmarks of climate change, with even more warming expected this century.
The northeastern provinces of Shandong, Jilin and Liaoning saw the highest levels of rainfall ever recorded in June, while the national average of 112.1 millimeters was 9.1 percent higher than the same month of last year, the China Meteorological Administration said in a report on Tuesday.
The average temperature across the country also hit 21.3 degrees Celsius (70.34 Fahrenheit) in June, up 0.9 C (1.8 F) from the same time last month and the highest since 1961. No relief is in sight, with higher than usual temperatures and rainfall forecast across much of the country through July, the administration said.
In the northern province of Henan, Xuchang hit 42.1°C (107.8°F) and Dengfeng 41.6°C (106.9°F) on June 24 for their hottest days on record, according to the global extreme weather tracker Maximiliano Herrera.
China has also experienced seasonal flooding in several parts of the country, causing misery for hundreds of thousands of people, especially in the hard-hit south which receives the bulk of the rainfall as well as typhoons that sweep in from the China Sea. southern.
China is not alone in experiencing higher temperatures and more unstable weather patterns. In Japan, authorities warned of greater than usual stress on the power grid and urged citizens to save energy.
Japanese authorities announced the earliest end to the annual summer rainy season since the national meteorological agency began keeping records in 1951. The rains usually dampen the summer heat, often until July.
On Friday, the cities of Tokamachi and Tsunan set all-time heat records while several others broke monthly records.
Large parts of the Northern Hemisphere have experienced extreme heat this summer, with regions ranging from the normally cold Russian Arctic to the traditionally sweltering American South recording unusually high temperatures and humidity.
In the United States, the National Weather Service has kept 30 million Americans under some sort of heat advisory amid record high temperatures. The suffering and health hazard are most intense among those who are not air-conditioned or who work outdoors, further reinforcing economic disparities in the face of extreme weather patterns.