It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

World Record Hottest Low Temperature

This is an all-time anywhere instrumental record:
At Khasab Airport in the desert nation of Oman, a remarkable record was set yesterday--the low temperature for the day was a scorching 41.7°C (107°F). The record was brought to [Jeff Masters'] attention by weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera. The previous highest minimum temperature for the world he was able to find was set just last year at Khasab Airport, 41.2°C (106°F). The U.S. record high minimum temperature may be a 39.4°C (103°F) taken in Death Valley, California in 1970. Higher record high minimums were set there in the early 1920s, but the quality of the data is suspect. Mr. Herrera notes that Khasab Airport in Oman lies at the base of a mountain range, behind which is desert. Winds blowing from the desert towards Khasab Airport flow downhill, undergoing compression and warming, like the Santa Ana winds in California. Incredibly hot conditions in Oman in late June are common, due to a seasonal shift in winds caused by the onset of the Southwest monsoon in India.
More locally, the San Francisco bay area had its wettest summer day ever, and the summer in Texas is shaping up pretty nasty. Though the all-time state high temperature of 120 F still seems to be secure, an astonishing temperature of 117 F was recorded at Childress in northern Texas. As readers here will be aware, drought centered in Texas is affecting all neighboring states in both the US and Mexico as well as other parts of both countries.

Parts of Mexico expect respite from the drought in the form of severe floods, as a consequence of the season's first Atlantic basin tropical storm, Arlene.

Images: The massive, burgeoning urban heat island at Khasab Airport, satellite image via Google Maps. (see comments below), photo by Jayavarman VII via Panoramio.

7 comments:

syphax said...

The Oman trend is due to local urban heat island effects.

Obviously.

Michael Tobis said...

The population of Khasab is 18000.

Please show your work.

Adam said...

Re. Texas, apologies for reposting something I already posted at Romm's, but I find these NOAA data most striking:

http://tinyurl.com/3rb9s4f

Note that all the coldest Mays occurred before 1980, while all the hottest have happened after 1990.

Pangolin said...

I'm not sure it would be possible to survive these temperatures for 24 hours even in the shade. I live in a place where 107º F is a temperature we might see for perhaps 10-12 hours a year. Sustained temps above 100º are punishing even for those used to them.

How many more places on earth will become simply uninhabitable due to extended periods of extreme heat and/or heat and humidity? I guess we get to find out.

Michael Tobis said...

Matt Huber, I think, did a study of this. Basically, a dew point in excess of body temperature is enough to reliably kill mammals no matter how they behave.

But, you might say, so what? People live (quite nicely thank you) in Montreal. They even live in some fashion in Edmonton or Fairbanks or Ulan Bator. Unprotected exposure to the weather there will kill you as well.

As for flora and fauna, I guess the world has already decided not to care about those.

At some point there will be high fashion air-conditioned suits, I would bet.

Michael Tobis said...

"An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress" S. Sherwood and M. Huber, Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences - PNAS , vol. 107, no. 21, pp. 9552-9555, 2010
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0913352107

King of the Road said...

I hadn't been to this post in a while - but I know that I read it when syphax had the only comment. I assumed he was making a sarcastic response to a probable WUWT interpretation.

Or maybe you were replying sarcastically to his remark as well. I see no html {sw} tags so it's hard to tell.

As to Pangolin, on more than one occasion I've spent time (a week or more) in the Mojave when the nighttime low was in the upper 80s and the daytime highs were in the mid to upper 1-teens. Humidity was admittedly low. But, while it was quite uncomfortable, I was there by choice and stayed as long as my schedule would allow. We weren't laying in the shade either. And I'm nothing special in the way of heat tolerance.

I'm not suggesting things would be hunky dory in any area where this became the norm but life would go on.