This week, temperatures reached 40.7C (105F) in central Japan, a five-year nationwide peak. Kyoto meteorological bureau confirmed that temperatures have stood above 38C (100.4F) for seven days in a row for the first time since records began in the 19th Century.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency has predicted that the high temperatures could last until August 2.
More than 10,000 people have been taken to hospital due to heat stroke-related symptoms according to The Japan Times.
“AccuWeather estimates the death toll from Japan heatwave is likely already in the hundreds despite the official toll of somewhat more than two dozen, and we predict the number will climb into the thousands before the heatwave ends,” AccuWeather President and Founder Dr Joel N. Myers said.
This record-breaking heat comes straight off the back of record-breaking torrential rain, where some regions saw 30in fall in just 24 hours.
“We’ve never experienced this kind of rain before,” a weather official said at the time.
Japan’s recent swings in extremes are a sign of the times.
As we progress deeper into the Grand Solar Minimum, the jet stream is taking on more of a meridional flow replacing the standard zonal. Where a zonal setup moves air west to east, a meridional flow transports cold air south and warm air north, this flow can effectively lock weather systems in place. This explains why regions become unseasonably hot or cold and others unusually dry or rainy, with the extremes lasting for an extended period of time.
Climate scientists have estimated that flooding and drought regimes will become far more frequent.