The summer of blistering heat continues across the Northern Hemisphere as more locations may have posted their highest temperatures ever reliably measured. On Monday, it was Taiwan that may have notched its toastiest temperature in recorded history. On Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates reported historically hot weather.
As Typhoon Maria approached Taiwan on Monday, the winds from its counterclockwise circulation rushed down the slopes of mountains adjacent to its east coast. As the air was compressed, it heated up and temperatures spiked. Tianxiang in Taiwan’s Hualien County registered a temperature of 104.5 degrees (40.3 Celsius), which, if verified, would be the highest temperature ever recorded in Taiwan, edging past the previous mark of 104.3 (40.2 Celsius) set in Taitung on May 9, 2004.
This possible record was first posted by Meteo France meteorologist Etienne Kapikian on Twitter.
United Arab Emirates
Kapikian also reported that Mezaira, in the south-central part of the United Arab Emirates, soared to 124.7 degrees (51.5 Celsius) on Wednesday. He called it one of the highest temperatures ever measured in the country and described higher marks set in previous years of 125.2 (51.8 Celsius) and 125.6 (52 Celsius) as “somewhat dubious” and “dubious.”
Other areas in the UAE also endured historically hot weather. Saih al-Salem in the north-central part of the country logged a high of 124.5 degrees (51.4 Celsius), its highest temperature ever recorded, Kapikian said.
These extremely high temperatures, and possible all-time records, add to a long list of others set in the past two weeks. They include:
- In North America: Multiple locations in Southern California; Denver; Montreal; Mount Washington, N.H.; and Burlington, Vt.
- In Europe: Glasgow, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; Belfast and Castlederg, Northern Island.
- In Eurasia: Multiple locations in central and east Russia; Tbilisi, Georgia; and Yerevan, Armenia.
- In the Middle East: Quriyat, Oman, which posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded on June 28: 109 degrees (42.6 Celsius).
- In Africa: Ouargla, Algeria, which may have posted the highest temperature in Algeria and the entire African continent on July 5: 124.3 degrees (51.3 Celsius).
In order for all-time temperature records to be considered official, they often need to be verified by meteorological agencies in their countries. For all-time continental temperature records, validation is required by the World Meteorological Organization.
Whether individual temperature records are valid is a thorny issue. Land-use change around a weather station, improper instrument placement or malfunction and/or nearby heating sources can artificially bias observed temperatures. Especially for temperatures that were observed many decades ago, the reliability of the measuring equipment and observing methods often comes into question.