Home Science Environment What Has Caused More Extreme Summer Heat Events Over Northeast Asia?

What Has Caused More Extreme Summer Heat Events Over Northeast Asia?

Widespread hot extremes have been seen throughout the world in recent years, causing heat-related mortality and harming crops and livestock. In summer 2018, a record-breaking heat wave swept across large areas of Northeast Asia. The China Meteorological Administration issued high-temperature warnings for 33 consecutive days.

In Japan, at least 71,266 people required hospitalization for heatstroke. To make things worse, the 2018 heatwave was probably not a random or an individual case, according to a new study published in Environmental Research Letters.

In the study, the 2018 heatwave was used as a rear-view mirror to investigate what has caused more extreme summer heat events over Northeast Asia, and in particular, to look into the role of anomalous anticyclones over Northeast Asia.

An anticyclone is an area of high atmospheric pressure, which causes settled weather conditions, and, in summer, clear skies and high temperatures. But how much the anomalous anticyclone circulation would contribute to extreme heat events over Northeast Asia still remains unknown. Ph.D. student Liwen Ren, the lead author, said:

The researchers found that such anomalous anticyclones similar to that in 2018 have become worse and more common in recent decades (1991-2017) than in the past (1958-1990). Further, this kind of dynamical (anticyclone) change in recent decades, together with thermodynamical change (e.g., mean temperature shift toward a warmer state with increasing greenhouse gases) has made such kinds of extreme heat events more likely to happen over Northeast Asia. Prof. Tianjun Zhou, the corresponding author of the study, said:

Provided by: Chinese Academy of Sciences [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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  • Troy was born and raised in Australia and has always wanted to know why and how things work, which led him to his love for science. He is a professional photographer and enjoys taking pictures of Australia's beautiful landscapes. He is also a professional storm chaser where he currently lives in Hervey Bay, Australia.

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