National

Japan's average temperature in 2019 hits record high, up nearly a degree from normal

JIJI

The average temperature in Japan in 2019 hit the highest level since records began in 1898 and was nearly a degree warmer than in a typical year, according to the Meteorological Agency.

The temperature exceeded the normal-year level by 0.92 degree Celsius, the agency said Monday. The normal-year level is the average of temperatures for the 30 years through 2010.

Since the 1990s, average annual temperatures in Japan have often hit high levels due to impacts from global warming. In 2019, temperatures remained comparatively high throughout the year.

The results are based on data recorded at the agency’s 15 long-term observation points nationwide that are only lightly impacted by urbanization.

The highest temperature in Japan last year was the 40.7 degrees logged in the city of Tainai, Niigata Prefecture, on Aug. 15, according to the agency. But the city is not one of the 15 observation points.

In 2018, when Japan’s highest-ever temperature of 41.1 degrees was recorded in the city of Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, the average temperature nationwide based on data from the observation points was the seventh highest on record. The 15 points also do not include Kumagaya.

In December last year, the amount of snowfall on the Sea of Japan side of northern Japan was 47 percent of the normal-year level, as the atmospheric pressure patterns typical of winter that cause snowfalls did not last long, the agency said. The amount was the lowest since the statistics began in 1961.

The amount of snowfall on the Sea of Japan side of western Japan in the same month was zero percent of the normal-year level, although some traces of snow fell and then melted.