Parts of the Middle East are getting absolutely scorched right now. Yesterday, the temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait soared to a blistering 54C. That's a record for our planet's Eastern hemisphere. Image: Ryan Maue/Twitter
As Weather Underground meteorologists Jeff Masters and Christopher C. Burt noted, if confirmed, that would be Earth's hottest temperature ever recorded outside of Death Valley, California. This record will likely be verified given that this temperature was recorded not once but twice. Earlier today, Basra, Iraq recorded the exact same temperature, 54C.
Friday, record heat in 12z Basrah Iraq = 129°F
54°C temperature and 1°C Dew Point = 4% relative humidity pic.twitter.com/RGgAmsxFqB
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) July 22, 2016
The official world record high temperature is 56.7C, which occurred on 10 July 1913, in Furnace Creek Ranch, California, in Death Valley. This is a hotly contested measurement, and it's probably not a valid reading. According to Burt, a more plausible record for Death Valley is a 30 June 2013 reading of 54C, which interestingly enough is the same temperature recorded just yesterday. Masters provides some more comparisons:
...Thursday's Basrah reading ranks as the fourth highest temperature ever reliably measured outside of Death Valley; the only higher non-Death Valley temperatures were today's 54°C (129.2°F) at Mitribah, Kuwait, a 53.6°C reading at Sulaibya, Kuwait in 2011, and a 53.5°C reading at Mohenjodaro, Pakistan on May 26, 2010. Note that there is one other competitor for hottest non-Death Valley temperature ever measured: the official all-time high temperature in Israel is a 54°C (129.2°F) reading from Tirat Tsvi, Israel on June 22, 1942...[but the] Israeli Met Office...refused to make public the details leading to their conclusions. Until they do so, the record remains suspect.
In response to the heat wave, the Iraqi government declared a two-day public holiday.
— Ayat Al (@Ayat_Al_) August 3, 2015
But some have found ways to beat the heat.
IRAQ - An Iraqi man takes a selfie as he cools down in the Tigris River in the capital Baghdad. By Ahmad Al -Rubaye pic.twitter.com/pycVKfqzXc
— AFP Photo Department (@AFPphoto) July 20, 2016
Personally, I recommend this.
The Middle East's record-setting heat wave is expected to last for yet another brutal day, where temperatures could reach 53C or higher. Crazily enough, when the final maximum is recorded for the day, it could even be higher.