Jul 22, 2016
Thermometers in Kuwait and Iraq reached record-shattering temperatures this week, with Weather Undergroundreporting that the measurements could be the hottest ever seen in the Eastern Hemisphere.
According to Weather Underground's Jeff Masters, the temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait climbed to an "astonishing" 54degC (129.2degF) on Thursday. And on Friday, Basrah, Iraq International Airport reported a high temperature of 53.9degC (129degF).
"Today's high in Basrah is the second highest reliably measured temperature in world recorded history outside of Death Valley, California," Masters wrote. "Only yesterday's 54degC (129.2degF) at Mitribah, Kuwait was hotter."
\u201cYet another "apocalyptic" heat wave hits the Middle East, #climatechange https://t.co/cKzXA1Bqzq\u201d— Climate Signals (@Climate Signals) 1469161178
"I've never seen Celsius temps like these on a weather map before," climate scientist Michael Mann said on Twitter.
The Washington Post notes, "It's also possible that these 129.2-degree readings match the hottest ever reliably measured anywhere in the world."
The Post's Jason Samenow explains:
Death Valley currently holds the record for the world's hottest temperature of 134.1 degrees (56.7 Celsius), set July 10, 1913. But Weather Underground's [Christopher] Burt does not believe it is a credible measurement: "[T]he record has been scrutinized perhaps more than any other in the United States," Burt wrote. "I don't have much more to add to the debate aside from my belief it is most likely not a valid reading when one looks at all the evidence."
If you discard the Death Valley record from 1913, the pair of 129.2-degree readings from Mitribah and Basra over the past two days would tie the world's highest known temperature, also observed in Death Valley on June 30, 2013, and in Tirat Tsvi, Israel, on June 22, 1942. But Masters says the Israeli measurement is controversial.
The Middle East is expected to get a respite from the current heat wave on Saturday, according to Weather Underground, when "the ridge of high pressure bringing the record heat will weaken, bringing temperatures about 10degF cooler to Iraq and Kuwait, and about 2-4degF cooler to Iran"--which was expected to break or come close to its own heat records on Friday.
A study published earlier this year in the journal Climatic Changepredicted that by the end of this century, "climate change and increasing hot weather extremes in the [Middle East and North Africa], a region subject to economic recession, political turbulence and upheaval, may exacerbate humanitarian hardship and contribute to migration."
The U.S. is also in the middle of a heat wave, with the National Weather service having issued heat alerts for more than 20 central, southwest, and eastern states.
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.