Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Temperature in Kuwait hits 54 Celsius, sets possible record amid Middle East heatwave – UN

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a United Nations specialized agency, will set up a committee to examine whether a 54 degrees Celsius temperature recently recorded in Kuwait, has set the new highest temperature for Asia, as well as for the entire Eastern hemisphere.

The region saw unusually high temperatures with Mitrabah, Kuwait, reporting a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius (129.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on 21 July, and the city of Basra in Iraq reporting 53.9 degrees Celcius (128 Fahrenheit) on Friday 22 July. Southern Morocco also saw temperatures of between 43 degrees and 47 degrees Celsius.

“The Kuwait investigation, as with all WMO official investigations, will consist of meteorologists and climatologists,” the agency said in a news release today.

“They will examine the instrumentation used, the quality of observations, the microclimate of the location, the representativeness of the [weather monitoring] station to its surroundings and to its own record,” it added.

Large parts of the Middle East and North Africa have been affected by heatwaves since last week, with temperatures exceeding the seasonal averages by a large margin, and over a sustained period. The conditions have prompted to issue health warnings.

The refugee population in the Middle East has been hard hit by the spiking temperatures. Their fragile situation has been further exacerbating by the high temperatures, said WMO.

According to the World Weather and Climate Extremes official archives, that WMO is responsible for, the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet was in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California at 56.7 Celsius on 10 July 1913.

“However, these records are subject to regular review,” noted the agency.

  • Record widespread warmth

Meanwhile, central and eastern United States have also been affected by widespread heatwave. Temperatures have been recorded in the range of 95-100 degrees (35-38 Celsius), and heat index values reached 110 degrees (43 Celsius), with some areas reaching 115 degrees (46 Celsius), WMO noted referring to figures from the US National Weather Service.

At the heatwave's peak on July 22, almost 124 million people were under heat-related warnings or advisories. Additionally, high overnight low temperatures, a unique feature of these heatwaves, meant little relief from the oppressive heat and above average temperatures are forecast to continue along much of the eastern US through the middle of the week...

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