World At least 11 people, including an amusement park mascot, have died across Japan in an unexpected heat wave
- Temperatures in Japan unexpectedly rose after the end of a rainy season this summer, with highs of about 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) expected this week.
- At least 11 people have died, and 5,600 others have been taken to hospital due to the heat.
- A 28-year-old part-time theme park worker died from heatstroke after practising a dance in the heat on Sunday.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
At least 11 people, including a theme park mascot, have died due to an unexpected heat wave sweeping Japan.An additional 5,664 people around the country were taken to hospital with heat-related medical issues last week, the Japanese government said Tuesday, according to the Kyodo news agency.Temperatures unexpectedly rose after the end of the country’s rainy season, with most of the country’s monitoring posts recording highs of over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).The city of Nagoya, central Japan, is due a high of 37 C (98.6 F) on Thursday and Friday, according to the JMA.japan heat man cools offIssei Kato/Reuters Yohei Yamaguchi, a 28-year-old part-time amusement park worker, died from heatstroke after practising a dance outdoors in a 16-kilogram (35.3-pound) mascot costume on Sunday night, Kyodo reported.Yamaguchi had been practising the dance on an outdoors stage in Hirakata amusement park for about 20 minutes from 7:30 p.m., and lost consciousness around 8 p.m., Kyodo and The Asahi Shimbun reported, citing local police.He died shortly after being rushed to hospital, Asahi reported. Temperatures were about 28.7 C (83.7 F) at the time, the newspaper said, citing the meteorological agency.The operator of Hirakata Park, the amusement park where Yamaguchi worked, apologized for the death and said it would „find the cause of it and work to prevent it from happening again,” according to Asahi.Hirakata Park has also canceled all mascot-related events this summer, Kyodo and Asahi said.japan osaka hirakata park The Asahi Shimbun via GettyLast summer, seventy-seven people died in an unprecedented heat wave in Japan, with temperatures reaching 41.1 C (105.8 F). The JMA classified it as a natural disaster.Read more: The climate crisis is inherently unfair. These 9 countries will get hit especially hard as the globe heats up.Europe also grappled with two separate heat waves this summer, which has broken all-time temperature records in multiple countries and killed at least nine people in total.India has also seen highs of more than 50 C (122 F) this year, leaving more than 100 people dead.The US East Coast also grappled with a heat wave in mid-July, with authorities placing 147 million people under a heat advisory or excessive heat warning. At least four people died.
Hawaii is keeping a wary eye on two hurricanes churning in the central and eastern Pacific. But the stronger one, Erick, is set to weaken as it passes south of the islands, while the second storm, Flossie, will likely to become a tropical storm by Thursday.
Erick, downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 3, was packing winds of 120 mph as it approached the state from the east on Wednesday, bringing wet conditions into the weekend. The center was expected to pass just south of the Big Island on Friday.
Hawaii can expect high surf, strong winds and heavy rain, but the impact will depend on the intensity as Erick approaches, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Forecasters warn of potentially dangerous surf conditions, mainly along east facing shores.
The center says Erick was already losing strength Wednesday and was expected to weaken gradually into a tropical storm before sliding south of Hawaii on Thursday and Friday.
At 5 a.m. HST (11 a.m. EST) Erick was about 830 miles east southeast of Honolulu moving toward the west at 13 mph.
Flossie was 1,975 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with sustained winds near 75 mph. The center says Flossie, the fourth hurricane of the Pacific season, could strengthen during the next two to three days.
Closer to the U.S. mainland, forecasters were watching a system in the Caribbean Sea that has a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next five days.
„This system is expected to move west-northwestward with no significant development during the next few days, producing locally heavy rainfall over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Hispaniola and portions of the southeastern Bahamas,” the hurricane center said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hawaii hurricanes: Erick and Flossie weaken en route to the islands
By Mayank Bhardwaj
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Monsoon rains in the coming weeks are likely to make up for a shortfall in the first two months of the season that began in June, the head of India’s state-run weather office said on Wednesday, boosting prospects for the agricultural sector.
„We are going to see some rapid recovery in the monsoon and the rainfall shortage is expected to come down sharply in the next couple of days,” K.J. Ramesh, director general of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), told Reuters in an interview.
The slow progress of the June-to-September monsoon season had led to fears of widespread drought, and has curbed the sowing of several summer-planted crops.
But a revival could spur planting and boost the yield of summer-sown crops such as rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybeans.
Crop-nourishing monsoon rains were 9% below average between June 1 and July 31, with heavy showers in the past few days reducing the shortfall from 16% on Friday.
Meteorological forecasts suggest the deficit should be wiped out by the end of August, Ramesh said.
„A sharp pick-up in the monsoon will ensure that the seasonal rains are broadly in line with our forecasts,” he said.
There could, though, be some further major flooding in parts of the country. In recent weeks, millions of people have been displaced in eastern Indian states, such as Assam and Bihar.
The IMD said in April monsoon rains were expected to amount to 96% of the long-term average.
It defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres for the entire four-month season beginning June.
But a poor start followed by a mixed national picture – with some areas badly trailing until the past week – prompted concerns of an economic hit to India, a major producer of farm goods.
Monsoon rains reached India’s southern coast of Kerala on June 8, more than a week later than usual.
„From now on, the two key parameters that influence monsoon rains – the El Nino and the IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) phenomena – indicate a good deal of rains in the weeks to come,” Ramesh said.
An El Nino – a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically happens every few years – last occurred in 2015-2016 and caused weather-related crop damage, fires and flash floods.
The IOD phenomenon is characterised by higher sea-surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean. A positive IOD creates a barrier in the eastern Indian Ocean and the southwesterly winds blow towards the Indian sub-continent, causing rains there.
Weather officials say a positive IOD played a big role in bringing sufficient rains to India in 1967, 1977, 1997 and 2006.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Martin Howell and Mark Potter)
(Bloomberg Opinion) — Two of today’s most important global trends are the return of nationalism and the explosion of privately held high-quality data. The potential side effects of both are on vivid display in one unexpected endeavor: weather forecasting.
In his new book, “The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast,” journalist Andrew Blum explains how rapidly forecasts have been improving. Quality is gaining roughly a day a decade, so that a 5-day forecast is now about as good as a 4-day forecast was a decade ago, and a 2-day forecast 30 years ago. The improvements, Blum notes, have been achieved not by a single government agency or company but by “an international construction, a carefully conceived and continuously running system of systems, tuned to an endless loop of observing the weather, predicting the weather, and observing it all over again.”
My father, a math professor at MIT who studied computational fluid dynamics, played a modest role in this history. Our family spent part of 1970 in Boulder, Colorado, while he visited the National Center for Atmospheric Research. I remember wondering at the time how someone like my father, who specialized in computer models of turbulence, could help with practical weather forecasting. But there is a connection, which Sergej Zilintinkevich, a Finnish scholar of meteorology, described: “Turbulence is the key to the atmospheric ‘machine.’ We cannot understand weather systems if we do not understand the connections between their parts.” Being able to use a computer to efficiently simulate turbulent flows was thus crucial to building better weather models.
Improvements in weather forecasting are built upon a collection of such advances, one after another. The two key drivers have been computer modeling and satellites — and these have advanced through international cooperation, as weather data and modeling improvements have been shared across countries for well over a century. As the World Meteorological Organization states in its mandate, “weather, climate and the water cycle know no national boundaries.”
Those who believe the U.S. can do almost anything better by itself, with no help from others, are clearly mistaken in weather forecasting. They should take note, for example, of European excellence in this area. Blum pays particular tribute to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, whose model is informally known as the “Euro.” Compared with other global models, including those developed in the U.S. and the U.K., he says, “the Euro is the most accurate the furthest out in time (if sometimes only slightly). It is also the most improved, the most often.”
Maintaining international cooperation on weather forecasting becomes harder as nationalist pressures build up in other arenas and as people worry more about cyber espionage. The Chinese, for example, have been accused of hacking U.S. weather systems.
At the same time, as the quality of privately collected data continues to improve, the question arises of how to integrate public and private data. This same question comes up in economic forecasting, as I’ve noted previously, but it is also salient in weather forecasting. Weather models have been able to advance as far as they have because public-sector data and information are freely exchanged. Will private companies keep the data they collect private, and use it to construct their own proprietary models? It’s an open question how these private activities best fit in with public weather data and modeling.
If there is a decline in international cooperation and data sharing, the quality of weather forecasting will stagnate, even within the U.S. As David Grimes, the outgoing head of the World Meteorological Organization, has said, “It would take three days before the United States would realize that they couldn’t live in a vacuum.”
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Peter R. Orszag is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the chief executive officer of financial advisory at Lazard. He was director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2009 to 2010, and director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2007 to 2008.
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