Currently — June 30th, 2022

The weather, currently.

Japan is in the middle of its worst June heat wave on record.

Temperatures in Tokyo rose to 95°F (35.1°C) on Tuesday for the fourth consecutive day, a first in recorded history in the month of June. During this heatwave, temperatures have risen as high as 104°F (40.2°C) — a new national record for June. As many as 6,000 people have been transported to the hospital for heat-related complications. In one shop, it got so hot the fire alarm was triggered, sending a cascade of water indoors. A power crunch in the Tokyo area prompted the government to request 37 million residents to reduce electricity use, including lighting and air conditioning.

No heatwave of this intensity or magnitude has ever occurred in Japan this early in the summer. Comprehensive weather records for Japan date to 1875.

Heatwaves like this — stronger, earlier in the season, more intense — are a hallmark of global warming caused by fossil fuel burning. A July 2018 heat wave in Japan of similar magnitude, peaking at 106°F (41.1°C), killed more than 1,000 people. A follow-up study found that the heatwave “could not have been possible without global warming.”

— Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

Seville, one of the hottest cities in Spain, officially has the world’s first heat wave naming and rating system.

This comes after the country experienced its hottest first two weeks of June ever in its recorded history. Seville’s Mayor Juan Espadas addressed the need to create a culture of awareness around heat waves in a statement.

“Extreme heat waves are becoming more frequent and devastating as a direct effect from climate change. Local governments should address the threat heat poses to our populations, particularly the most vulnerable, by raising awareness of heat-health related hazards through evidence based data and science,” said Mayor Espadas.

With the new system, which launched last week on the summer solstice, Seville, will categorize each heatwave on a scale from 1 to 3 based on several factors, including daytime and nighttime temperatures, the heat index and humidity. Expected health impacts on residents will also be considered in the system, particularly those that are the most vulnerable, like the elderly and those that are unhoused or living with underlying health conditions.

Each category of heat wave calls for different public services––like extreme weather alerts and emergency response efforts that  send community health teams to check on people or opening air-conditioned cooling centers to provide people a moment of relief.

Heat waves that fall under Category 3 will be assigned names in reverse alphabetical order, starting with Zoe, Yago and Xenia.

Other cities, like Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Missouri and Athens have started similar programs.

— Aarohi Sheth