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 JLPR2:


As I said, its pretty to look at XD


456 never said anything about it developing. Geeze pick up a book and learn to locate a wave . It was not directed at you.
Quoting Weather456:


Why do people assume something will develop if you look at it? I know what month it is but I learn and analyze each day regardless of whether something develops or not.


I know I was kidding lol

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831. JLPR2
Quoting Weather456:


Why do people assume something will develop if you look at it? I know what month it is but I learn and analyze each day regardless of whether something develops or not.


As I said, its pretty to look at XD
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Quoting errantlythought:
If there can be nothing else good that comes of this oil spill, at least certain politicians are making themselves known as absolute fools:

Sarah Palin declares Drill Baby Drill would have prevented the oil spill.


It was a known fact in this particular case...
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


cant develop 456, remember its only June lol


Why do people assume something will develop if you look at it? I know what month it is but I learn and analyze each day regardless of whether something develops or not.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
If there can be nothing else good that comes of this oil spill, at least certain politicians are making themselves known as absolute fools:

Sarah Palin declares Drill Baby Drill would have prevented the oil spill.
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Good evening everyone! I don't post often either. I am also in South Florida...Boca Raton
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826. JLPR2
Quoting Hurricanes101:


cant develop 456, remember its only June lol


Dont ever say never when it comes to the tropics and weather XD
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825. IKE
Big-easy Marine weather....

"MARINE...
DIFFICULT FORECAST WITH COMPLEX SYSTEM EXPECTED TO MOVE THROUGH THE
GULF TONIGHT. A WEAK SURFACE LOW IS EXPECTED TO MOVE THROUGH THE
OUTER COASTAL WATERS. AHEAD OF THE SYSTEM...EXPECTING SE WINDS OF 15
TO 20 KNOTS WITH FREQUENT CONVECTIVE GUSTS OVER 25 KNOTS AND
WIDESPREAD SHRA/TSRA. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORIES REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR
PORTIONS OF THE OUTER COASTAL WATERS AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES THROUGH
THE AREA. SEAS EXPECTED TO REACH 5 OR 6 FEET OVER EXTREME OUTER
PORTIONS OF THE COASTAL WATERS TONIGHT AND INTO THURSDAY MORNING.
THESE CONDITIONS WILL BE SHORT LIVED AS THE PRESSURE GRADIENT
RELAXES QUICKLY AND LIGHTER WINDS RETURN BEHIND THE LOW. PERSISTENT
S-SW WINDS ARE EXPECTED FROM THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH THE WEEKEND.
95/DM"
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.."Cuz Your the Storm that I believed in",..
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Quoting Weather456:
Because of its proximity to the equator, turning is not as pronounce but is evident.



cant develop 456, remember its only June lol
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Agreed. I think no one is safe (as you stated) but the areas that i think will have the most activity is:

-Antilies
-Florida
-Caribbean
-Gulf coast

*Pretty much everyone.
dont forget the east coast
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i'm reminded of a 14yr old girl from DC, a real native Washingtonian...
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Just had a cute little storm come through Macon, Ga., K8, 39,000 footer, high winds, freq lightning, heavy rain, 1" hail, still have power, looks like more to the NW of us.


Wow those are some rough looking storms!
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Just had a cute little storm come through Macon, Ga., K8, 39,000 footer, high winds, freq lightning, heavy rain, 1" hail, still have power, looks like more to the NW of us.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
guys, i cant reveal my town's name, that's personal info. if you want to know, send me a private mail.
That's great JFV. But I can disclose that I live in Miami, I don't have to tell you my exact location but there's no problem telling us the city you live in.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Levi32:
Earlier, a surface outflow boundary was observed expanding outward to the north of the tropical wave west of Africa. This was likely a result of dry, saharan air from the north getting entrained into the convection and accelerating downdrafts, producing a surface outflow boundary as sinking air hits the ocean surface and spreads outward. When you see these, it is dry air at work causing thunderstorms to collapse.





Wow, it's the same thing we saw with Phet.
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Because of its proximity to the equator, turning is not as pronounce but is evident.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting TropicalWave:
thanks, guys, how do i post a pic on my avatar? cause iw ant to post my pic.


Click the Image and follow the prompts,,making sure to click the Bio Portrait box
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Quoting TropicalWave:
thanks, guys, how do i post a pic on my avatar? cause iw ant to post my pic.


You just click on it and then you can post any picture from your computer.
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Earlier, a surface outflow boundary was observed expanding outward to the north of the tropical wave west of Africa. This was likely a result of dry, saharan air from the north getting entrained into the convection and accelerating downdrafts, producing a surface outflow boundary as sinking air hits the ocean surface and spreads outward. When you see these, it is dry air at work causing thunderstorms to collapse.





Indeed, convection has slightly decreased in intensity, especially in the area where the outflow boundary was observed.

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Quoting TropicalWave:
guys, i cant reveal my town's name, that's personal info. if you want to know, send me a private mail.


Do you have any kids? Are you in school?
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Quoting TropicalWave:
near the broward county line.


real close to Hialeah
Member Since: July 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 261
Horizontal scrolling takes place even in Firefox if your screen resolution isn't big enough. My old computer was 1024x768, and even with FF, this site scrolled. The only time it created a reading problem, however, was when somebody posted a long line of text that didn't break. Otherwise it was just a slight aggravation. My new computer has a wide screen and the horizontal scrolling has stopped.
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GoodOleBudSir



hahahahahahahahaha!
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Quoting TropicalWave:


i guess, is that a bad thing? lol


Not at all, we are all just so excited that we have another Florida blogger in our midst!
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803. IKE
Quoting TropicalWave:


i guess, is that a bad thing? lol


No...


Quoting Patrap:



Anything to keep the 5 window units in the OFF Position Big Guy.


LOL.
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Quoting Patrap:
Ooooh..I like dat deep purple Ike..

my Fav.

.."Oil on the Wa-ter,..a Sheen in da Sky"..
I hear a song coming on.
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Quoting IKE:


Yeah...right over you.



Anything to keep the 5 window units in the OFF Position Big Guy.
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798. IKE
Quoting Patrap:
Ooooh..I like dat deep purple Ike..

my Fav.


Yeah...right over you.
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797. xcool
Weather456 you mean big big thing to come
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Oh my, stormtop and Wink Martindale mentioned on the same page. I shoulda stayed at work.... Must be near the end! :)
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Quoting Weather456:
Just a sign of things to come

Agreed.
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794. IKE
Quoting TropicalWave:
me? PBC, why?


PBC? Palm Beach?

Another Florida blogger.
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Quoting xcool:
ilove ie8


Here Here
I lubs it too.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
me? PBC, why?
What's your location?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Ooooh..I like dat deep purple Ike..

my Fav.

.."Oil on the Wa-ter,..a Sheen in da Sky"..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Quoting Weather456:
Just a sign of things to come



Thank the lord it is only June 2.
Member Since: July 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 261
New NOAA Fishing closures,MAP..GOM
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788. IKE
5 day forecast for qpf...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Just a sign of things to come

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Miamihurricanes are you on???? If so what areas do you see being affected the most.I think no where is safe along the coastline.I think everybody needs to be prepared this season just like every season.It only takes one.Have a safe hurricane season.
Agreed. I think no one is safe (as you stated) but the areas that i think will have the most activity is:

-Antilies
-Florida
-Caribbean
-Gulf coast

*Pretty much everyone.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193

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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.