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Greenland may not have reached highest recorded summer temperature in late July

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Update, September 10, 2013: After further review, official says the July 30 record high of 78.6 F set in Greenland – the warmest temperature since modern records began in 1958 – stands. Details: Confirmed: Greenland reached hottest temperature in modern record this summer

On August 1, I reported Greenland had logged its warmest summer temperature on record on July 30.  A news release from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) served as the basis for the report.

The DMI now says the record may not be legitimate, because artificial heat sources near the observing station may have contaminated the temperature sensor.

Anthony Watts, who runs the blog WattsUpWithThat, penned a post over the weekend arguing the reading was invalid for this reason and offers some plausible reasons as to why the temperature reading may have been artificially warm.

Watts has asked that I retract my original report (on his blog, via email, and on Twitter three times).

But before issuing any retraction, I thought it was important to go straight to the source and find out from the DMI what the status of the record was.  I emailed the DMI, and it turns out the record is still under review – according to a response from John Cappelen, data management specialist and senior climatologist.

Here’s Cappelen’s response, in full:

Dear Jason,

The reading was valid….but the temperature sensor at the airport station Maniitsoq is not placed according to the WMO [World Meteorological Organization] standards…

It is generally very hard to follow the WMO standards in all details in arctic areas, but this sensor is placed so influence from the surroundings can have affected the reading in a way, so the reading maybe will have to be rejected.

Quality control procedures is ongoing like all ways, where we among other procedures used station data from another station in the area and look into the weather situation in more details.

Whether or not the temperature reading will be rejected and for that reason not included in the extreme records will be announced later.

Best regards,


Bottom line: Watts has raised some notable concerns about the supposed Greenland record, but it’s premature to rule out that a record was established nonetheless.  When DMI makes a final determination, I will post another update.