Asia records its hottest temperature in history; Category 4 Phet threatens Oman

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:47 PM GMT on June 02, 2010

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A hellish heat wave hit Pakistan last week, sending the mercury to an astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) at the town of MohenjuDaro on Wednesday May 26, reported the Pakistani Meteorological Department. While this temperature reading must be reviewed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for authenticity, not only is the 128.3°F reading the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan, it is the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded on the continent of Asia. This information comes to me courtesy of Chris Burt, the author of Extreme Weather, who is probably the world's foremost expert on extreme weather records. In a collaborative effort with weather record researchers Maximiliano Herrera and Howard Rainford, Mr. Burt has painstakingly researched the extreme weather records for every country on Earth. They list the previous reliable record high for Asia as the 52.7°C (127°F) temperature measured on June 12, 1919, in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Temperatures exceed 120°F in this region of Pakistan nearly every year, in the late May/early June time frame before the monsoon arrives. Last week's heat wave killed at least 18 Pakistanis, and temperatures in excess of 50°C (122°F) were recorded at nine Pakistani cities on May 26, including 53°C (127.4°F) at Sibi.

All-time hottest temperature for Southeast Asia this month
Record heat also hit Southeast Asia in May. According to the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Myanmar (Burma) had its hottest temperature in its recorded history on May 12, when the mercury hit 47°C (116.6°F) in Myinmu. Myanmar's previous hottest temperature was 45.8°C (114.4°F) at Minbu, Magwe division on May 9, 1998. According to Mr. Burt, the 47°C (116.6°F) measured on May 12 this year is the hottest temperature measured in Southeast Asia in recorded history.

Bogus extreme temperature records
I'm pleased to say that Chris Burt will be joining wunderground.com as a featured blogger later this year to discuss his work. He's working on a great new website that features weather records for each country of the world, complete with footnotes on disputed records. For example, many record books list Israel as the site of Asia's all-time maximum temperature. Mr. Burt comments: "54°C (129.2°F) has widely been quoted as the highest temperature ever recorded in Israel (and Asia) but there exist serious issues with this record. The temperature was recorded on a thermograph at Tirat Zvi on 21 June 1942. Examination of a copy of this trace (see Bio-Climatic Atlas of Israel by Dr. D. Ashbel, Central Press, Jerusalem, 1950, p.125, Figure 1) actually shows a maximum temperature of 53°C (127.4°F). No explanation is known for this 1°C discrepancy. In comparison with surrounding stations, it is likely that the actual temperature recorded at Tirat Zvi on this data was probably no higher than 52°C (125.6°F), which would be a record high temperature for Israel. Temperatures have reached or exceeded 50°C (122°F) in Israel only during this one episode in 1942.


Figure 1. Temperature trace from Bio-Climatic Atlas of Israel by Dr. D. Ashbel, Central Press, Jerusalem, 1950, p.125 for Tirat Zvi, Israel, the week of June 21, 1942.


Figure 2. Zoom of temperature trace from Bio-Climatic Atlas of Israel by Dr. D. Ashbel, Central Press, Jerusalem, 1950, p.125, for Tirat Zvi, Israel, the week of June 21, 1942. The temperature clearly only reached 53°C, if one reads the graph properly. Thus the 54°C temperature labeled on the graph is not correct.

Mr. Burt comments in his Extreme Weather book that every temperature record for the planet in excess of 129°F can be disputed. All of these records, except for the 134°F recorded at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, California, were made by French colonial era instruments which were found to be irregular as far as the exposure of the screens used to house the temperature instruments. In some cases, the temperature instrument was housed closer to the ground than it should have been. Mr. Burt will have an in-depth analysis of the evidence later this summer when he begins blogging for us.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

Tropical Cyclone Phet the 2nd strongest Arabian Sea storm on record
The record heat over southern Asia in May has helped heat up the Arabian Sea to 2°C above normal. The exceptionally warm SSTs have helped fuel a rare major hurricane in the Arabian Sea today, as Tropical Cyclone Phet underwent an impressive bout of rapid intensification this morning to become a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Phet is a Thai word pronounced as Pet, meaning "Diamond". Intense hurricanes are rare in the Arabian Sea, due to the basin's small size, the interference of the summer monsoon, and the frequent presence of dry air and dust from the Arabian Peninsula. Phet is now the second strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea, behind Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman. Third place is held by the 2001 India Cyclone 01A and Very Severe Cyclonic Storm ARB 01 (02A), which were Category 3 storms with 125 mph winds.

Phet is over some of the warmest ocean waters on the planet, 30 - 31°C (86 - 88°F), and warm waters in excess of 26.5°C (80°F) extend to a depth of at least 50 meters (165 feet), resulting in a Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential high enough to allow Phet to attain Category 5 status. Phet is under moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is forecasting Phet to become a Category 5 storm later today. The storm is moving slowly north-northwest towards Oman, and could ingest dry air from the Arabian Peninsula on Thursday, resulting in weakening. It now appears likely that Phet will make landfall in Oman before recurving to the northeast and hitting Pakistan. The region of Oman likely to get hit is sparsely populated, so wind and storm surge damage will not be the main concerns. Phet will spread heavy rains over the heavily populated northern regions of Oman, which will likely cause extreme flooding. Phet has the potential to be worse for Oman than Tropical Cyclone Gonu, which did $4.2 billion in damage and killed 50 people in June 2007.

Impact on Pakistan
Phet is on track to make landfall in Pakistan or Iran after hitting Oman. Phet will be much weakened by passage over Oman, and may only be a tropical storm after crossing the Gulf of Oman and arriving at the Iran/Pakistan coast. Still, Phet's rains could easily cause destructive floods in Iran and Pakistan.

The strongest tropical cyclone on record to hit Pakistan was Very Severe Cyclonic Storm ARB 01 (02A), which hit near Karachi on May 20, 1999, as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds. According to Wikipedia, 02A killed 700 people did $6 million in damage (1999 USD). I've also found references to a December 15, 1965 cyclone that killed 10,000 near Karachi, Pakistan.

Oil spill update
Moderate onshore winds of 10 - 20 knots out of the southeast to southwest are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over most of the next week, resulting increased threats of oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA. These persistent southwesterly winds will likely bring oil as far east as Fort Walton Beach, Florida, by Monday.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

I'll be back Thursday with more on Phet and an analysis of the new Colorado State University hurricane forecast issued by Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray issued today.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
he shouldn't of asked i told him he was safe


He's not really safe if most of us already know who he is.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1033. JLPR2
Quoting KoritheMan:


:D

Why the new name?


Got some little problems with the old one, like little bugs that dont allow me to post images to my blog, I cant modify my pictures profile, at least they fixed the double blog, but the other account is there XD I just cant bring myself to delete my 400something wunderphotos -.-
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1032. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting msgambler:
Keeper is giving away to many hints.
he shouldn't of asked i told him he was safe
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
Quoting JLPR2:


Me too! high five! XD

High five times 3 ;) not for long though ... I have an awesome birthday present every year ... September birthdays.... last year was the first dull birthday .. stupid Nino
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Quoting JLPR2:


*scratches head*
D-min didn't ''poof'' it


How much of that is actually tropical in nature and how much is ITCZ?
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
BaltimoreBird, do you live in Baltimore?
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1028. JLPR2


*scratches head*
D-min didn't ''poof'' it
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
Keeper is giving away to many hints.
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Quoting JLPR2:


Me too! high five! XD


:D

Why the new name?
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Yes he would when he was fiu2010 he told me his name was chris matthews! LMAO!


LOL
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting CaneWarning:


JFV would never, ever lie!
Yes he would when he was fiu2010 he told me his name was chris matthews! LMAO!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Will the real JFV please stand up?


does JFV really know who JFV is, he's got so many handles i'm surprised he can keep a handle on himself.
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KOG I figured it out as well.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3709
Quoting IKE:


I know who he is.


Do tell! I have an idea.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1016. JLPR2
Quoting KoritheMan:


I'm 19.


Me too! high five! XD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

and ken griffery Jr just retired.


Braves sweep Phillies, have won 8 straight and are a league best 23-8 in their last 31 games
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1014. IKE
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

your not jfv we know that
we also know you have been around since 2006
we also know you had your own blog and still can but you don't
we also know you are permanently banned from the docs blog
we also know should i go on


I know who he is.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


It's easy to lie.


JFV would never, ever lie!
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting ElConando:
Tigers Pitcher is 3 outs away from a perfect game.

and ken griffery Jr just retired.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
Guys, TropicalWave is not JFV. I just emailed him and asked him and he said he was not JFV.

Oh! If he says he's not he must not be. Of course!
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Quoting msgambler:
Does how old some act count....LOL


It probably should!
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting CaneWarning:
Guys, TropicalWave is not JFV. I just emailed him and asked him and he said he was not JFV.


It's easy to lie.
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1008. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting weather42009:


Who? Might I ask.

your not jfv we know that
we also know you have been around since 2006
we also know you had your own blog and still can but you don't
we also know you are permanently banned from the docs blog
we also know should i go on
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
1007. pottery
Quoting IKE:
TropicalWave is JFV? You're kidding? I never would have guess.



I heard just now that there's a 5 1/2 pipe inside the riser pipe.

The drill pipe is still inside the riser.
I understood from a briefing that it is 6 and 3/8" dia, with 1/2 " walls.
Looking at the "shears" that they used to cut the pipe with yesterday, I cant see how they going to get the shears close enough to the top of the BOP to make a difference. It is a huge pc. of equipment.
I am really astonished that they have not got this thing figured out yet.
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Does how old some act count....LOL
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I'm 19.
Im 18
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


OMG...YOUR CRAZY!!!!


LOL
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Hello everyone so what did i miss today been real busy.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I have question is there any other young heads (teenagers) like me on this blog? Like they say your never to young.


I'm 19.
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Tigers Pitcher is 3 outs away from a perfect game.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3709
Guys, TropicalWave is not JFV. I just emailed him and asked him and he said he was not JFV.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Will the real JFV please stand up?



LOL. JFlorida's going to come in here again and report all you guys.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'm 13.
Really? I'm fifteen but I've been here a few years, It's never to early to start a meteorology career. I took meteo 101 online my freshman year
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Oh No...JFV is back....stormtop will follow soon lol....from his weather forecast desk...I hope his crop duster this season is ready hes gonna have deploy alot of drop sondes this year it seems lol...j/k
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Will the real JFV please stand up?

agreed.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
but you are very good at keeping yours
i know who you are your safe for now


Who? Might I ask.
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Will the real JFV please stand up?

Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23018
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I have question is there any other young heads (teenagers) like me on this blog? Like they say your never to young.
I'm 13.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032

The wave needs to be about 10 degrees north to be anything to worry about...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
but you are very good at keeping yours
i know who you are your safe for now


Wow, there are so many bloggers with multiple identities.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting weather42009:


Hi JFV. You know you are terrible at keeping your identity hidden. First of all, as a new blogger, how did you get so informal with Weather456? Second question is, how do you know if bloggers are being funny? You must have some prior knowledge of why that joke was funny.
but you are very good at keeping yours
i know who you are your safe for now
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
Quoting IKE:
... I heard just now that there's a 5 1/2 pipe inside the riser pipe.
Yes there is, the drill pipe. I was contemplating earlier if it might be under pressure and come rocketing out of the well like a harpoon once the riser was cut. We don't know if the BOP has a grip on it, and it may still be sealed at the bottom with a cement plug.

Wouldn't that be an interesting development! It is 5,000 feet to the surface, but there are still 13,000 feet of drill pipe in that well.
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 579

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.