TOKYO, Japan — The Summer Olympics in Tokyo will see some of the hottest weather in decades.
Like many places on Earth, hotter-than-normal weather has been a trend in recent decades and is being attributed to global warming. In fact, global warming may end up setting more records at the Olympics than the athletes.
The British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS) said in a report called “Rings of Fire: How Heat Could Impact the 2021 Tokyo Olympics” that Japan is warming three times as fast as the global average, with very hot days and warmer nights becoming the new normal.
Add in the expected urban heat island effect (when an urban area is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities) and the chances of the Tokyo Olympics becoming the hottest Olympics on record increases.
Much of the Olympics will see high temperatures in 90s with oppressive humidity to boot.
The heat and humidity can feel exactly like in the Tampa Bay region with temperatures in the 90s and dew points in the upper 70s.
Makoto Yokohari, a professor at the University of Tokyo, said Tokyo's average temperatures in late July and early August are the highest for any host city going back to 1984, according to Jack Tarrant of Reuters.
"When it comes to heat stress or heatstroke, the problem is not only the temperature but also the humidity as well," Yokohari told Reuters. "When you can combine these two, Tokyo is the worst in history."
Extreme heat has repeatedly taken a toll on recent international competitions.
Temperatures have reached as high as 104 degrees at the Australian Open in recent years, causing people to pass out, according to ESPN.
At the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Qatar, 28 of 68 starters withdrew as temperatures neared 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 70 percent humidity, BBC News reports. And, that was after the race was moved to midnight to avoid the scorching heat of the day.
The effects of climate change are not limited to extreme heat. Forbes.com says warmer winter seasons pose a threat to snow sports, severe typhoons led to several 2019 Rugby World Cup matches to be canceled and smoke from wildfires has disrupted numerous outdoor events across the U.S. and Australia.
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