The Middle East heat wave and climate change

By Janice Sinclaire, July 22, 2016

The heat waves baking much of the United States are certain to result in speculation about the connection between global warming and extreme weather. To help clarify what science says about this situation, Chris Mooney at the Washington Post has written a helpful piece, “What science can tell us about the links between global warming and massive heat waves.” As Mooney points out, scientists are increasingly willing to connect climate change to extreme heat waves, at least those “that appear out of the norm in some way.”

On Thursday, July 22nd, the temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait, set an all-time record for a temperature recorded outside of Death Valley, California, with a reading of 129.2 degrees, Fahrenheit (54 degrees, Celsius). The top temperature, 134 degrees Fahrenheit, was recorded in Death Valley in 1913. As Jeff Masters, Director of Meteorology at Weather Underground, notes in this article, “If verified, this would be Earth's hottest temperature ever reliably measured outside of Death Valley…” Verification of temperature is performed by the official weather service in the country in which the temperature has occurred and can take anywhere from a few days to a few months.

In a phone conversation, Masters pointed out that a temperature of 129.2 Fahrenheit has now also been reported in Basrah, Iraq, for today, July 23.


Publication Name: Washington Post
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