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 stillwaiting:
it'll be bad but,mother nature w/always prevail,no matter what humans do,her force is to strong and alot of oil w/wash up and kill wildlife and it is a man made disaster,however thru time,mixing and settling,as long as we do cap it in time,it will mix and dilute,what is the approx volume of water in the gom comparied to how much oil has leaked????,thier w/be clean up their w/be dead wildlife and economic impacts but w/will get thru this and the GOM w/clean herself in time....


omg! thats what rush limbaugh said! you arent him are you?? oh that would be so cool to have him on here. I have so very many things I would love to be able to tell him! I have loved him ever since he said the national organization for women was founded just so women would have a reason to wear ugly hats. and also i would like to know where he gets his drugs and if they give him urine tests and if so, how does he beat them. he is a real inspiration to all of us!
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132. unf97
Quoting StormW:
Good morning!


Good morning StormW

Good morning to everyone on the blog!
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Morn'n Senior Chief...
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Morning StormW
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What's the earliest Cape Verde Storm on record?
Does anyone know if there's ever been a Cape Verde Storm in June?
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While we're on the topic, has any data been presented on the locations of the dissolved hydrocarbon locations relative to the spill that aren't readily visible? A fraction of petroleum products do mix with water at levels much above EPA Maximum Contamination Limits for surface water and aren't visible to the eye. Considering this, the location(s) of this plume may be much closer to reported unaffected areas than what is being reported.
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126. eddye
it has a better chance then 91 L
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Question: How many people on this blog right now have put there hand in there skyrocket(pocket) and are paid members?

I don't wanna p*** in the Dr's pocket but this is a great blog and I'm glad I put my hand in my skyrocket and became a paid member.
I am looking forward to future blogs, and the info from the other featured bloggers 456 and StormW this Hurricane season and all the additional info from all the informative bloggers on here.


i dont have any money. i am a bureaucrat, one of the ones who do the actual work and get none of the actual big pay
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Quoting eddye:
guys lets talk about the african wave i bet it will live longer then 91 L

ok you start.
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111. runningfromthestorms 3:05 PM GMT on June 02, 2010
Thanks to a post yesterday about the Mississippi Insurance Commissioner saying there was no coverage on Homeowners policies for pollution if a hurricane blew the oil and toxic dispersant combination onto a house and to call our insurance companies to see if a rider was available, I called USAA - the brilliant people there told me I had nothing to worry about that oil was heavier than water...and further more they had not even considered this event occurring and had no position on it!!! So if this toxic junk is blown onto my house during a hurricane...OH WELL is their position in Alabama...



tell me about it...bad enought that all companies dropped wind south of I-10 but hey for an extra 1400 bucks you can get a 6% deductible through Alfa...what a freaking joke and on top of that they raise rates while stripping the wind coverage...boy that sure makes sence don't it...and with sludge blowing around if a storm does hit....this is just unreal....
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Morning Pat
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120. eddye
guys lets talk about the african wave i bet it will live longer then 91 L
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Quoting TampaSpin:
This almost makes me think of the movie The Abyss......i am just waiting for the Aliens to pop onto the screen.

I love that movie, i was like omg wow, cool when i first saw that movie
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Quoting MTWX:

right next to the quote button on the bottom. How have you been lately??
Well, I'll be great as soon as I get back from the eye doctor....LOL How you been?
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2010 Hurricane Preparation
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Quoting Minnemike:
i'd like to help out, but i'm afraid to put my hand in my skyrocket... i don't know if that phrase carries well in the States... pocket book maybe? -indeed it is the best $10 you can spend online :D

Sykrocket is aussie slang for pocket.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
it'll be bad but,mother nature w/always prevail,no matter what humans do,her force is to strong and alot of oil w/wash up and kill wildlife and it is a man made disaster,however thru time,mixing and settling,as long as we do cap it in time,it will mix and dilute,what is the approx volume of water in the gom comparied to how much oil has leaked????,thier w/be clean up their w/be dead wildlife and economic impacts but w/will get thru this and the GOM w/clean herself in time....

How long will the clean up take? how long will it take for the oil that's in the GOM come ashore or be skimmed up? How long will it take for the economies that are based around/on/in the GOM get back on there feet? How long will it take for the well to be capped? I can go on and on and on about this. The head of BP, TransOcean and Haliburton should be strung up by there jatzz crackers. They are all to blame for this.
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112. MTWX
Quoting msgambler:
I wish I could find the ignore button

right next to the quote button on the bottom. How have you been lately??
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Thanks to a post yesterday about the Mississippi Insurance Commissioner saying there was no coverage on Homeowners policies for pollution if a hurricane blew the oil and toxic dispersant combination onto a house and to call our insurance companies to see if a rider was available, I called USAA - the brilliant people there told me I had nothing to worry about that oil was heavier than water...and further more they had not even considered this event occurring and had no position on it!!! So if this toxic junk is blown onto my house during a hurricane...OH WELL is their position in Alabama...
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110. BDAwx
if we have a named storm once a week from the middle of june to the middle of november we would end up with 20 named storms. Keep in mind that you can have more that 3 named storms going at the same moment in active periods. - just a thought.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Question: How many people on this blog right now have put there hand in there skyrocket and are paid members?

I don't wanna p*** in the Dr's pocket but this is a great blog and I'm glad I put my hand in my skyrocket and became a paid member.
I am looking forward to future blogs, and the info from the other featured bloggers 456 and StormW this Hurricane season and all the additional info from all the informative bloggers on here.
i'd like to help out, but i'm afraid to put my hand in my skyrocket... i don't know if that phrase carries well in the States... pocket book maybe? -indeed it is the best $10 you can spend online :D
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108. SLU
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
this time last year we were at 5
10 waves above last year


yep .. this is really worrying
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 5163
Quoting Hurricanes101:
That wave by Africa does look pretty impressive, and conditions are favorable out there


That is pretty far south too. Most waves this time of year come off further North. Needs to be watched for sure.
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That wave by Africa does look pretty impressive, and conditions are favorable out there
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it'll be bad but,mother nature w/always prevail,no matter what humans do,her force is to strong and alot of oil w/wash up and kill wildlife and it is a man made disaster,however thru time,mixing and settling,as long as we do cap it in time,it will mix and dilute,what is the approx volume of water in the gom comparied to how much oil has leaked????,thier w/be clean up their w/be dead wildlife and economic impacts but w/will get thru this and the GOM w/clean herself in time....
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I wish I could find the ignore button
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
If this is the type of wave were seeing now...we're in trouble.

Pretty vigorous:

Very impressive this early. It is just a hunch, we may get some type of development east of the Windward Islands this June. Its happened before.
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Question: How many people on this blog right now have put there hand in there skyrocket(pocket) and are paid members?

I don't wanna p*** in the Dr's pocket but this is a great blog and I'm glad I put my hand in my skyrocket and became a paid member.
I am looking forward to future blogs, and the info from the other featured bloggers 456 and StormW this Hurricane season and all the additional info from all the informative bloggers on here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
100. MTWX
Morning All

This oil spill response thing has become flippin' rediculous!!!! Just proof that money rules the world!!

Just a side note... I have a feeling that our ignore buttons are going to get a lot of use this season.
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Quoting RobbWilder:
nature has a way of fixing things. The gulf will come back. Look at floridas drought. That TS from either last year or the year before that criss crossed the state took us out of drought conditions in Florida in just a day.

umm, how is it nature is going to fix this one? Somehow I don't see how flooding rains or wind will be helpful.
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Thanks Dr.......... :(
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9134
Props!(in the alt text!) - > Oil disaster
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Quoting eddye:
can i see the satelite of african wave plz

scroll down and you can see it
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Quoting CaneWarning:


You sound like a BP employee.

you read my mind
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Ahhh ok got it now Aussie. Thought you meant pull it out your....nevermind....LOL
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can i see the satelite of african wave plz
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Quoting msgambler:
On the grassy knoll it is great but on the beachy sand, well....not that good. Expecting some storms this afternoon but I can live with that. Hope all are well across the pond. Ohh yeah, I think the phrase is " Pull yer head OUT". They already have it "IN".....LOL

Pull ya head in mean, pull it in or it will get knocked off.
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Destin Jeff, i so agree..robbwilder do you live down here on the gulf coast?? i'm sure assuming that you don't and if you do then please leave cause apparantly you don't cherish what we have here....and saying that the gulf will come back?? yeah maybe our next generation of kids...
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Quoting RobbWilder:
Sigh! Its not the end of the world either. The gulf will come back. It has before from an oil spill and it will again.


You sound like a BP employee.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
#79 - and exactly what generation will see the GOM once nature has "FIXED THINGS"? It most surely won't be the generation of the little one in your avatar!

You go POOF!
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Paragraph from Philip Klotzbach & Dr. Gray's Hurricane season 2010 released today:

We estimate that 2010 will have about 10 hurricanes (average is 5.9), 18 named storms (average is 9.6), 90 named storm days (average is 49.1), 40 hurricane days (average is 24.5), 5 major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and 13 major hurricane days (average is 5.0). The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall and Caribbean major hurricane activity is estimated to be well above its long-period average. We expect Atlantic basin Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity in 2010 to be approximately 195 percent of the long-term average. We have increased our seasonal forecast from early April.
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The sad part about all of this is we still haven't seen the worst yet. It's only going to spread. It's bad enough already and I can't imagine what hurricane season will bring for the gulf. This is a major disaster both environmentally and economically. If you thought the economy was bad already, just wait, it will get worse for the gulf states. Florida is already losing a ton of money because of it and we don't even have oil on our beaches...yet.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Sigh! Its not the end of the world either. The gulf will come back. It has before from an oil spill and it will again.
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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.