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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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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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
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lol aussie
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Does not matter. The Gulf is not going to be a big oil soup from here till eternity. This has happened before and will happen again. Nature has away of fixing things.
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Thanks for the update Doctor M!!
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Quoting msgambler:
LOL Good afternoon Aussie

Good Evening, How is your patch of this tiny planet 3rd from the sun today?
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Quoting eddye:
aussie storm i said we are going to have one soon

Of course we'll have one soon, It's Hurricane season, not duck season.
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If this is the type of wave were seeing now...we're in trouble.

Pretty vigorous:

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#20 - the National Wildlife Federation has a text number for donations for the GOM Disaster:

Through your mobile device simply...

Text "WILDLIFE" to 20222 to donate $10
We don't know what's ahead. We do know the National Wildlife Federation will be there.

Robyn
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Quoting Floodman:


Burma Shave...LOL

How are you, mate?

Yeah been alright mate!, meant to bucket down here for the next few days, and its going to be brass monkeys weather this coming week.
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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.


totally invalid analogy
Just saw Phil Klotzbach's & Dr. Gray's forecast for 2010 Hurricane season. Not sure if you already saw this so wanted to share.. still reading through comments ;) Link
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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.
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aussie storm i said we are going to have one soon
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Quoting divdog:
We will have direct impact in Florida within 48 hours prob less


It already has... I know a fair amount of Canadian Tourists have already written off any plans of going to any of the States... and other countries that border the Gulf.

Some of you are aware we go down to the GOM every year. The plan was two weeks in Cuba this year in Dec/Jan. We are already looking at staying on the Pacific side and planning accordingly.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
thanks for update doc
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Quoting SLU:
And the strong wave off Africa is now the 15th tropical wave of the year!
this time last year we were at 5
10 waves above last year
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I use
voice recognition
software

it's just how
it displays
LOL Good afternoon Aussie
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AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Reflector Backup page
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting eddye:
we got invest 92 L soon
Quoting eddye:
92 L could head towards the carribean

Pull ya head in or you'll meet the other people on my ignore list.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I can tell you living in Florida and the business i am in that Florida is already feeling the impact of International Vacation and Domestic Vacations in Traveling......this is gonna get Nasty folks as this continues to get worse....even tho Florida has not seen much in direct impact it is getting affected.
We will have direct impact in Florida within 48 hours prob less
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i think we could get 92 L from the african wave
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Quoting AussieStorm:

What is this????
The first quote I saw on the news and was said by a political analyst, I think. Not sure on the second.
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the Gulf is gone
it's over
there's no fixing it

leak plugged or not

hope is not a strategy

adjust to the new normal
Quoting Floodman:
I'll say it again, folks: BP went into this thing without any contingency plans; their partners in this debacle, TransOcean and Haliburton are no better. To all intents and purposes this was a criminal act


Don't leave out past/present government. The Oil Spill Act of 1990 required plans/people/equipment to handle a spill, which are obviously lacking.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11179
Quoting Floodman:
I'll say it again, folks: BP went into this thing without any contingency plans; their partners in this debacle, TransOcean and Haliburton are no better. To all intents and purposes this was a criminal act


Hey Floodman,Last night they showed on the news that Randy Patrick went Red Fish Fishing yesterday was opening day and they showed the oil floating in the water, and by time they made it in it was already on Dauphin Island, I think it's gonna be a bad summer all the way around and for a long time. This is just awful our beaches and marshlands and creeks are gonna be ruined.
Sheri
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I can tell you living in Florida and the business i am in that Florida is already feeling the impact of International Vacation and Domestic Vacations in Traveling......this is gonna get Nasty folks as this continues to get worse....even tho Florida has not seen much in direct impact it is getting affected.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

What is this????


Burma Shave...LOL

How are you, mate?
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Quoting smarterthanyou:
the BP leak
is not
Obama's Katrina

it's his
Iran hostage
crisis
Quoting smarterthanyou:


I think it's
because it's
not a
natural disaster

and it's
so slow
unfolding

the psychological impact
is different

What is this????
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Quoting Floodman:
I'll say it again, folks: BP went into this thing without any contingency plans; their partners in this debacle, TransOcean and Haliburton are no better. To all intents and purposes this was a criminal act


I agree.....anyone in Risk Management or Emergency Management always and must ask the "WHAT IF" questions with SOLID ANSWERS and PLANS! Just sayn
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48. IKE
Okay I didn't see the chart showing "Uncertainty Range". They're similar to NOAA.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting smarterthanyou:


it's also sad
that the same outrage
has not been expressed
about the LA wetlands
You are correct. The response was too slow and now we see the beginning of the end for some areas in La that may be a dead zone for years if not decades. BP blew it in the LA area and are standing in the way of local plans to try to protect our area just like they did in LA. They think they know how to protect our area better than we do. Unbelievable!!
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This is going to have a huge economic impact. I can't even imagine what this is going to do to a state budget.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
CSU updated june2 numbers 18-10-5
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I agree Flood. And all parties should be paying for this not just BP
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8 twhcracker "to the tune of "forget your troubles come on get happy"

In a bitterly ironic twist of fate, around the same day that the DeepHorizon blew out, there was a press release of the "Worry Survey" list of counties with populations over 20thousand.
Two Louisiana coastal parishes made the bottom of that list. Terrebonne and Vermilion citizens were the least worried in the nation.
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could get a little stormy top side!
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I'll say it again, folks: BP went into this thing without any contingency plans; their partners in this debacle, TransOcean and Haliburton are no better. To all intents and purposes this was a criminal act
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39. SLU
And the strong wave off Africa is now the 15th tropical wave of the year!
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38. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:


isn't that in line with NOAA?


They went up to 23. I can't see 23 happening....especially if the rest of June is as quiet as the first half looks.

Yes...I could be wrong about 23 being the total...before anyone fires away at me.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting eddye:
92 L could head towards the carribean


There is NO 92L
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Quoting divdog:
Our beautiful white sand beaches is what make our local economy work. Oil on beaches ruins our summer tourist season thus the local economy. I have not even begun to discuss the ecological impact this will have in my area. Booms will not stop the oil from breaching our pass thus exposing our bay and all inland waterways. The wildlife toll is just unimaginable. This is one of the saddest things i have ever witnessed and it is just beginning.


it's also sad
that the same outrage
has not been expressed
about the LA wetlands
re 30: We do not have 92L
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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