We have seen some hot weather here in Western Canada this year, but nothing that unusual or record breaking. This is not the case over a large portion of Asia this summer. I guess it’s not surprising that we would see some all-time national temperature records being broken this year, since the Earth as a whole has now experienced the warmest first six months of the year ever. What is a little surprising is that we have now seen the greatest number of all-time national temperature records ever recorded in one year.
So far this year there have been 17 national all-time temperature records. These 17 nations comprise 19 per cent of the Earth’s total land mass. Over the last 10 years, our planet has seen 75 national all-time record highs (33 per cent of the Earth’s total land mass) and only 15 national record-low temperatures (six per cent of the Earth’s total land mass). So it is no surprise that this last decade was the warmest decade on record.
For those of you who are looking for some sign of cooling, there was one all-time national record low recorded so far this year and it was in Guinea. They recorded their coldest temperature in history on January 9, when the mercury hit 1.4 C at Mali-ville in the Labe region.
The heat wave that is probably making the most news is what has been dubbed the Great Russian heat wave of 2010. This heat wave has covered a huge area of land in central Asia. Comparing it to the deadly heat wave that hit Europe in 2003, this one is more intense and is covering a much larger area. If we look at the weather in Moscow, they have seen 26 consecutive days with highs above 30 C and the forecast is calling for highs in the mid-to upper 30s for at least the next week. Deaths in Moscow alone were running 5,000 more this July than last, and some projections are indicating that the total heat-related deaths from this heat wave will surpass the 40,000 people who died in Europe in 2003.
Here is a list of the national heat records set in 2010. List compiled by Jeff Masters with help from Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather.
Belarus: 38.7 C on August 6 in Gorky. The previous record was 38 C set at Vasiliyevichy on Aug. 20, 1946.
Ukraine tied its record for hottest temperature in its history when the mercury hit 41.3 C at Lukhansk on August 1.
Cyprus: 46.6 C on August 1 at Lefconica. The old record for Cyprus was 44.4 C at Lefkosia in August 1956.
Finland: 37.2 C on July 29 at Joensuu. The old record was 35 C at Jyvaskyla on July 9, 1914.
Qatar: 50.4 C on July 14 at Doha Airport.
Russia: 44 C on July 11 in Yashkul, Kalmykia Republic, in the European portion of Russia near the Kazakhstan border.
Asian portion of Russia: 42.3 C on June 25 at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China.
Sudan: 49.6 C on June 25 at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5 C set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.
Niger: 48.2 C on June 23 in Bilma. The previous record was 47.1 C on May 24, 1998, also at Bilma.
Saudi Arabia: 52 C on June 22 in Jeddah. The previous record was 51.7 C at Abqaiq, date unknown.
Chad: 47.6 C on June 22 at Faya. The previous record was 47.4 C at Faya on June 3 and June 9, 1961.
Kuwait: 52.6 C on June 15 in Abdaly. Kuwait’s previous all-time hottest temperature was 51.9 C on July 27, 2007 at Abdaly.
Iraq: 52 C on June 14 in Basra. Iraq’s previous record was 51.7 C set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu’aybah.
Pakistan: 53.5 C on May 26 at MohenjuDaro (possibly the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded on the continent of Asia).
Myanmar (Burma): 47 C on May 12 in Myinmu. Myanmar’s previous hottest temperature was 45.8 C at Minbu, Magwe division on May 9, 1998.
Ascention Island (St. Helena, a U.K. Territory): 34.9 C on March 25 at Georgetown. The previous record was 34 C at Georgetown in April 2003, exact day unknown.
Solomon Islands: 36.1 C on February 1 at Lata Nendo (Ndeni). The previous record for Solomon Islands was 35.6 C at Honaiara, date unknown.
Colombia: 42.3 C on January 24 at Puerto Salgar. The previous record was 42 C at El Salto in March 1988 (date unknown).