Tokyo Heat

After some of the worst flooding in decades, Japan has experienced a punishing heatwave for much of July and August with temperatures soaring ever 41°C. Needless to say, many people lost their lives, and the impact of climate change is becoming ever more visceral.

Spending any considerable time outside has been unbearable so I spent much of the last two months cocooned in my air-conditioned apartment, only venturing out for a daily dip in the pool and to nip to the supermarket. Such are the perks of working from home.

Things came to a head last Monday (Aug 26) evening with one of the biggest storms I have ever witnessed. The barrage of thunder and lightning lasted for over an hour with the sound ricocheting continuously off buildings, amplifying its apocalyptic presence.

This thunderstorm displayed a textbook Cumulonimbus capillatus incus shape: a powerful convective updraft and a well-defined anvil at the top. It also produced an impressive ‘bolt from the blue’ lightning bolt: such a bolt starts in the updraft or even in the anvil and strikes out and away from the thunderstorm. This type of lightning bolt can strike up to ~30 km from the thunderstorm; the skies can be blue with hardly a sign of an ongoing thunderstorm, hence the name ‘bolt from the blue’.

Severe Weather Europe

Several Twitter users captured jaw-dropping photos and videos of the event:

The changing weather looks set to drive sales of air-conditioners in places that haven’t historically needed them (e.g. the U.K.) but unfortunately, they themselves are key contributors to the greenhouse gases driving this catastrophe. The vicious cycle looks set to continue.

Top photo by KAGAYA.

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