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    Severe East Asia Heat Update

    June 28, 2010, 4:49:58 AM EDT

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    The intensity of ongoing heat over northeast China, eastern Mongolia and nearby Russia has grabbed my attention. As of Sunday, it is for the last five to six days that temperatures have soared above the benchmark of heat, 100 F (38 C). I cannot recall, at any time in my 28 years of forecasting, the likes of this heat wave happening in this part of Asia.

    In the Russian region of Amur, Svobodnyy and Belogorsk reached 108 F, or 42 C, on Friday. Normal high temperature in late June would be near 25 C, or 77 F.

    In the neighboring region of Chita, bordering both Mongolia and China, the string of 100-degree days reached at least four, if not more, as of Sunday. In Borzya, not only were four days above 100 F, but they were at least 40 C, or 104 F.

    Much the same results have been felt in Heilongjiang and northeastern Nei Mongol, China. Such a contrast versus the flood-weary south of China, which has seen near-normal temperatures in June.

    The full weight of heat reached the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, where Saturday saw 38.3 C, or 101 F. This must rank amongst the highest temperatures ever reached in the city, which stands more than 1300 meters above sea level. Normally this time of year, highs are about 22 C to 23 C, or a little over 70 F.


    Image credit: COLA/wxmaps.org

    A look at the 500 mb analysis made at 1200 UTC today, Sunday, hints at the cause of the heat.

    High pressure aloft has been locked over the heat wave area between long-wave troughs (east and west) and further complicated by weak low pressure to the south. Such a pattern ("blocking" pattern) happening over land at the time of highest sun is well correlated to heat waves.

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