Highest Temperatures – Did Your Know…

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…That the standard measuring conditions for temperature are in the air, 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) above the ground, and shielded from direct sunlight intensity (hence the term, x degrees “in the shade”)?

Temperatures measured directly on the ground may exceed air temperatures by 30 to 50 °C (54 to 90 °F). A ground temperature of 84 °C (183.2 °F) has been recorded in Port Sudan, Sudan. A ground temperature of 93.9 °C (201.0 °F) was recorded in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California, United States on 15 July 1972; this may be the highest natural ground surface temperature ever recorded.

And there is more…

The theoretical maximum possible ground surface temperature has been estimated to be between 90 and 100 °C (194 and 212 °F) for dry, dark-ish soils of low thermal conductivity. Satellite measurements of ground temperature taken between 2003 and 2009, taken with the MODIS infrared spectroradiometer on the Aqua satellite, found a maximum temperature of 70.7 °C (159.3 °F), which was recorded in 2005 in the Lut Desert, Iran. The Lut Desert was also found to have the highest maximum temperature in 5 of the 7 years measured (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009). These measurements reflect averages over a large region and so are lower than the maximum point surface temperature.

Satellite measurements of the surface temperature of Antarctica, taken between 1982 and 2013, found a coldest temperature of −93.2 °C (−135.8 °F) on 10 August 2010, at 81.8°S 59.3°E. Although this is not comparable to an air temperature, it is believed that the air temperature at this location would have been lower than the official record lowest air temperature of −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F)

Did you also know, that there are reports of temperatures higher than the listed world record of 56.7 °C (134.1 °F) during phenomena known as heat bursts, including a report of 87 °C (189 °F) in Abadan, Iran in June 1967?

There are also reports made by satellite analysis, including one of 66.8 °C (152.2 °F) measured in the Flaming Mountains of China in 2008. These temperatures have never been confirmed, and are not recognized as world records. The former highest official temperature on Earth, held for 90 years by ‘Aziziya, Libya, was de-certified by the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) in January 2012 as the record for the world’s highest surface temperature. (This temperature of 58 °C (136 °F), registered on 13 September 1922, is currently considered to have been a recorder’s error).

Christopher C. Burt, the weather historian writing for Weather Underground who shepherded the Libya reading’s 2012 disqualification, believes that the 1913 Death Valley reading is “a myth”, and is at least 2.2 or 2.8 °C (4 or 5 °F) too high, Burt proposes that the highest reliably recorded temperature on Earth is still at Death Valley, but is instead 54.0 °C (129.2 °F) recorded on 30 June 2013. 53.9 °C (129.0 °F) was recorded another four times: 20 July 1960, 18 July 1998, 20 July 2005, and 7 July 2007. On 21 July 2016, Mitribah in Kuwait also recorded a maximum temperature of 54.0 °C (129.2 °F), tying Death Valley’s highest reliably recorded temperature on Earth, while Basra in Iraq reached 53.9 °C (129.0 °F) that day. In a second part to his analysis, he gave a list of 11 other occasions in which temperatures of 52.8 °C (127.0 °F) or more were reliably measured as well the highest reliably measured temperatures on each continent.

Compared to those temperatures today’s 39 °C here were almost mild…

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16 thoughts on “Highest Temperatures – Did Your Know…

  1. The mean annual temperature for Death Valley (Furnace Creek Weather Station) is 77.2 °F (25.1 °C) with an average high in January around 67 °F (19 °C) and 116 °F (47 °C) in July. From 1934-1961, the weather station at Cow Creek recorded a mean annual temperature of 77.2 °F (25.1 °C). Before being moved to Furnace Creek, the weather station at Greenland Ranch averaged 194.4 days annually where temperatures reached 90 °F or more.On July 12, 2012, the day’s low temperature was 107 °F (42 °C), tying the record for the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded. On the same day, the average temperature was 117.5 °F (47.5 °C), which is the world’s hottest temperature averaged over 24 hours on record. The period from July 17–19, 1959, was the longest string of consecutive days where nighttime low temperatures did not drop below 100 °F (38 °C). The highest overnight or low temperature recorded in Death Valley is 110 °F (43 °C), recorded on July 5, 1918, and the current world record for hottest overnight low.

    The lowest temperature recorded at Greenland Ranch was 15 °F (−9 °C) in January 1913. Another reason it is called Death Valley – you could also freeze to death!

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