New All-Time Record High For Asia Confirmed

Jonathan Erdman
Published: June 18, 2019

Extremely hot temperatures recorded in Kuwait in 2016 and Pakistan in 2017 were confirmed to be accurate and set new all-time record highs for Asia, according to a new study.

Mitribah, Kuwai, recorded a high of 53.9 degrees Celsius (129 degrees Fahrenheit) on July 21, 2016, and this is now accepted as a new record high for Asia and the Middle East as far west as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Another high of 53.7 degrees Celsius (128.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in Turbat, Pakistan, on May 28, 2017, was also confirmed by the WMO, and set Pakistan's all-time record high.

The investigation to confirm these extreme temperatures—the most intensive in WMO history—was conducted by a WMO committee of experts from 14 countries. These committees are convened to investigate potential all-time temperature, precipitation and other records.

For the first time, this involved a detailed calibration and comparison of the exact temperature sensors sent from national weather services in Kuwait and Pakistan. As a result, the originally reported temperatures of 54 degrees C at both sides were lowered slightly by the WMO.

According to the WMO's Global Weather and Climate Extremes Archive, these recent temperatures would rank as the fourth and fifth hottest temperatures on record, behind readings in Death Valley, California (56.7 degrees Celsius in July 1913), Kebili, Tunisia (55 degrees Celsius in July 1931), and Tirat Tsvi, Israel (54 degrees Celsius on June 21, 1942).

However, an investigation by Weather Underground weather historian Christopher Burt after the Kuwait 2016 heat wave called into doubt the Death Valley 1913, Tunisia 1931 and Israel 1942 records.

As a result, the highest reliably-measured surface temperature on Earth is believed to be 54 degrees Celsius (129.2 degrees Fahrenheit), observed at Death Valley on June 30, 2013.

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