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Summer 2023 Is the Hottest on Record in Vietnam Due to El Niño

While the past weeks have felt like living in a sauna for Saigoneers, north-central Vietnam provinces experienced even hotter temperatures this summer.

According to the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration, a measuring station in Tương Dương, Nghệ An Province read 44.2°C on May 7, marginally edging out the previous record set in Thanh Hóa just a day before. On Saturday, May 6, the Hồi Xuân Weather Station in Thanh Hóa Province recorded 43.8°C at 4pm and a daily peak of 44.1°C. This extreme temperature reading broke the previous record of 43.4°C set in April 2019 in Hà Tĩnh.

Across northern and central Vietnam, 17 other provinces experienced temperatures of over 40°C. Two areas in Hanoi also saw similar heat patterns.

In the south, temperature records didn’t cross 40°C, but widespread sunny weather also wreaked havoc on the livelihood of workers and students. On the same day, a measuring station in Tân Sơn Nhất recorded 38°C, the hottest reading in the city. Among southeastern provinces, Biên Hòa in Đồng Nai Province went through the most punishing heat at 39.4°C.

Temperatures in Mekong Delta provinces mostly fluctuated in the 35–37°C range, though Châu Đốc in An Giang Province recorded 37.4°C

Lê Thị Xuân Lan, the former deputy head of the Weather Forecast Department at the Southern Regional Hydro-Meteorological Center, told VnExpress that May temperatures this year will be 0.5–1°C higher than previous years due to the impact of El Niño.

El Niño is characterized by dryer, hotter weather and fewer storms owing to the warm phase of the cycle of warm and cold sea surfaces. Countries that depend on weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean for agriculture and fishing, like Vietnam, will be majorly impacted.

The United Nations warned that the change in sea temperature this year will “most likely lead to a new spike in global heating and increase the chance of breaking temperature records.” From 2015 to 2022, the world continued to witness hottest days on record, even though three of those years were already cushioned by cooling effects thanks to La Niña.

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