In addition to being the warmest year on record when averaged over the entire globe, 2015 was also notable for all-time extreme heat records. Sixteen nations or territories tied or set all-time records for their hottest temperature in recorded history in 2015, and two (Israel and Cyprus) set all-time cold temperature records. For comparison, only two nations or territories set all-time heat records in 2014, and nine did in 2013. The most all-time national heat records held by any year is nineteen in 2010. Most nations do not maintain official databases of extreme temperature records, so the national temperature records reported here are in many cases not official. I use as my source for international weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, one of the world's top climatologists, who maintains a comprehensive list of extreme temperature records for every nation in the world on his website
. If you reproduce this list of extremes, please cite Maximiliano Herrera as the primary source of the weather records. Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt maintains a database of these national heat and cold records for 235 nations and territories on wunderground.com's extremes page
. Notable global heat and cold records set or tied in 2015
Hottest temperature in the world in 2015: 52.8°C (127.0°F) at Mitribah, Kuwait on July 30
Coldest temperature in the world in 2015: -82.9°C (-117.2°F) at Dome Fuji, Antarctica, September 13
Hottest temperature in the Southern Hemisphere in 2015: 49.2°C (120.6°F) at Reobourne Airport, Australia, February 21
Coldest temperature in the Northern Hemisphere in 2015: -63.8°C (-82.4°F) at Geo Summit, Greenland, December 16
Number of major worldwide stations with at least 40 years of records that recorded their highest all-time temperature in 2015: 293 (for comparison, this number was 198 in 2014.)
Number of major worldwide stations with at least 40 years of records that recorded their lowest all-time temperature in 2015: 13 (for comparison, this number was 15 in 2014.)
- On February 21, Wittenoom, Australia recorded a minimum temperature of 35.1°C, which is a new world record of highest minimum temperature for the month of February.
- On March 24, Esperanza Base recorded 17.5°C, which is the highest temperature ever recorded in the Antarctic mainland and second in Antarctica only to the Signy Island record of 19.8°C. Signy Island is located far away from mainland Antarctica, and is just below the conventional latitude of 60°S.
- On July 26, Geo Summit in Greenland recorded -30.7°C, which is a new record of lowest temperature ever recorded in July in the Northern Hemisphere (at any elevation). Previous record was -30.5°C at the Mt McKinley AWS, Alaska, U.S.
- On August 27, Geo Summit in Greenland recorded -43.5°C, which is a new record of lowest temperature ever recorded in August in the Northern Hemisphere (at any elevation). Previous record was -43.4°C at Cathy AWS, Greenland.
- On October 24, Geo Summit in Greenland recorded -60.0°C, which is a new record of lowest temperature ever recorded in October in the Northern Hemisphere (at any elevation). Previous record was -57.8°C at Northgrip, Greenland.
- On October 27, Vredendal in South Africa recorded 48.4°C, which is a new world record of highest temperature for the month of October.
- For the year, Coro in Venezuela recorded a yearly average temperature of 30.5°C (86.9°F), which is the hottest ever recorded anywhere in the Americas. It is also one of the highest average yearly temperatures ever recorded in the world outside the area of the Red Sea (lowlands/depressions/coasts of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somaliland, Saudi Arabia, Yemen). Outside of that area, only Bangkok Klong Thoey Station had a higher yearly average temperature: 30.7°C in 1998.All-time national and territorial heat records set or tied in 2015French Guiana
set its national heat record on November 3, when the mercury hit 37.9°C (100.2°F) at Saint Laurent du Moroni. Indonesia
tied its national heat record on October 28, when the mercury hit 39.5°C (103.1°F) at Semarang Airport.Anguilla
set its national heat record on October 10, when the mercury hit 34.2°C (93.6°F) at The Valley Airport. This was the 3rd time in 2015 Anguilla broke its all-time heat record.Saint Barthélemy
set its national heat record on October 5, when the mercury hit 35.5°C (95.9°F) at Gustavia.Dominica
set its national heat record on October 4, when the mercury hit 35.5°C (95.9°F) at Canefield Airport. That tied the record set the previous day.The U.S. Virgin Islands
set their national heat record on September 11, when the mercury hit 35.6°C (96°F) at Charlotte Amalie Airport. Note: the unofficial record listed by NOAA for the U.S. Virgin Islands is 99°F
at the Charlotte Amalie Airport in 1988, 1994, and 1996. Mr. Herrera has researched the history of temperature measurements in the islands, and found that data taken at this airport was generally reliable after 1998 and before 1972. Between 1972 to 1998, the data was seriously flawed, with minimum temperatures up to 20°F from the real temperature.Hong Kong
set its national heat record on August 8, when the mercury hit 37.9°C (100.2°F) at Happy Valley. Germany
set a new national heat record of 40.3°C (104.5°F) twice in 2015: on July 5 and on August 7, both at the Kitzingen station in Bavaria.Vietnam
tied its national heat record of 42.7°C (108.9°F) at Con Cuong on May 30. Palau
tied its national heat record of 34.4°C (94.0°F) at Koror Airport on May 14. Venezuela
set a new national heat record of 43.6°C (110.5°F) at Coro on April 29. Laos
tied its national heat record of 42.0°C (107.6°F) at Thakhek on April 20.Ghana
set a new national heat record of 43.3°C (109.9°F) at Navrongo on April 10. This was the third time in 2015 that Ghana tied or set a new all-time heat record. Cocos Islands
(Australian territory) tied their all-time heat record with 32.8°C (91.0°F) on April 8.Equatorial Guinea
set a new national heat record of 35.5°C (95.9°F) at Bata on March 18. Wallis and Futuna Territory
(France) set a new territorial heat record with 35.5°C (95.9°F) on January 19 at Futuna Airport.
Special Mentions: Antarctica
set a new heat record for its mainland
of 17.5°C (63.5°F) at Esperanza Base on March 24. Previous record: 17.4°C (63.3°F) at Marambio Base, set the previous day. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has appointed a committee to study this event and determine if this represents an official record for the continent. Note that this is a record for mainland Antarctica, not a territorial or continental record. The all-time maximum record for the continent and territory of Antarctica is 19.8°C (67.6°F) on January 30, 1982, in Signy Island, South Orkney, an island group located about 450 miles northeast of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost portion of mainland Antarctica. Geologically, the South Orkney are on the Antarctic plate, and politically, they are part of Antarctica. Switzerland
had its highest reliably measured temperature on record in Geneva on July 7, when the mercury hit 103.5°F (39.7°C). The only higher temperature ever measured in the country was a 106.7°F (41.5°C) reading on August 11, 2003 at Grono. As reported at the Swiss news site swissinfo.ch
, this old record was achieved "using an old measurement technique of weather huts, which generally recorded temperatures a few degrees higher than modern instruments." Weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera
agrees that this year's 39.7°C reading in Geneva is the highest reliably measured temperature ever in Switzerland, though the August 11, 2003 temperature at Grono was probably warmer (near 40°C), after correcting for the known problems with the site. Samoa
was originally listed by Mr. Herrera as tying its national heat record with 36.5°C (97.7°F) on January 20 at Asau, but a subsequent review of the record revealed possible issues with the measurement equipment, so this record is dubious.All-time national and territorial cold records set in 2015Israel
set a new national cold record of -14.2°C (6.4°F) at Merom Golan on January 10.Cyprus
set a new national cold record for an inhabited place of -10.7°C (12.7°F) at Prodromos on January 9.
Special Mention: Oman
set an unofficial all-time cold record of -9.7°C (14.5°F) on January 20 at Jabal Shamas. The station is located on the top of a mountain above 3000m with no living population, and its time series is very short. Therefore, the record should be considered unofficial. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Oman in any representative station is -3.6°C (25.5°F) recorded at Sayq on January 26 1983.
A big thanks goes to Maximiliano Herrera for providing the information in this post.