All-time Hottest Temperature for the Eastern Hemisphere set last week

Published by Dave Brooks on

July 26th, 2016

Last Thursday, the all-time heat record for the Eastern Hemisphere of 54°C  was set in Kuwait. Some meteorologists suggest that it may even be the hottest verified temperature on the planet. Surprisingly, however, this story received very little mainstream media coverage.

The official record of the hottest temperature recorded on the planet is 56.7°C, recorded in Death Valley, California, on the 10th of July, 1910. Many modern meteorologists, such as Weather Underground meteorologist Christopher Burt, however, believe that the equipment and methods of the time were more prone to error than current technology, and there is evidence from nearby recording stations which suggests that the record is erroneous. This could make Thursday’s reading the world record, coming at a time when each month and year seems to break previous records for hottest average temperatures.

Indeed, last month was the 14th in a row to break the record for the hottest recorded temperatures for that month, a trend that has been going since April 2015. A significant factor in this phenomenon is the particularly powerful El Niño that was taking place over the period, warming ocean waters and shifting atmospheric conditions on a global scale. But the effects of El Niño are no longer present, and the influence of global warming is clear, according to NASA’s Gavin Schmidt. “While the El Niño event in the tropical Pacific this winter gave a boost to global temperatures from October onwards, it is the underlying trend which is producing these record numbers,” he said. Perhaps it is against this backdrop of continuous and hence, almost unsurprising, record-breaking high temperatures that left this significant climactic event go unnoticed.

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Dave Brooks

Dave works as Communication Assistant with the Environmental Pillar. His background is in psychology and he has a masters in Environmental Psychology from the University of Surrey.