Another round of excessive heat has battered nations in Asia, shattering seasonal temperature records throughout the continent and raising questions about their capacity to adapt to a fast-changing climate.
Temperatures climbed again in late May, the start of the cooler monsoon season, after brutal heat waves devastated wide portions of the continent in April.
Seasonal highs have been recorded across Southeast Asia, China, and other regions, and experts cautioned that there will be more to come.
Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist said, “We can’t say that these are events that we need to get used to, and adapt to, and mitigate against because they are only going to get worse as climate change progresses.”
The authorities in Vietnam already forced to limit electricity and turn off street lights due to the heat wave, which is predicted to extend far into June. This is because the demand for air conditioning threatened to overload the electrical supply.
On May 6, the nation had its hottest temperature ever, which was 44.1 Celsius (111.4 Fahrenheit), in the province of Thanh Hoa, which is located roughly 150 km (93 miles) south of Hanoi. On Wednesday, another province nearly broke the record by reaching 43.3C.
On Thursday, the nation’s weather service issued a warning about the dangers of residential fires brought on by excessive energy use. It also cautioned against the risks of dehydration, fatigue, and heat stroke given that temperatures are expected to range between 35C and 39C over the next two days.
On Monday, Shanghai China saw the warmest May day in more than a century. A day later, a meteorological station in Shenzhen, a center for tech production in the southeast, too set a May record with a temperature of 40.2C. For a few more days, the south will experience a heatwave.
In April, a brutal heat wave already affected India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia, resulting in extensive infrastructure damage and an increase in cases of heat stroke. Thailand reached a record 45 degrees, and Bangladesh had its highest temperature in 50 years.
Through May, seasonal temperature records also kept falling, with humid Singapore experiencing its hottest month in forty years.