Seven National All-Time Heat Records Set in 2011

Seven countries and one territory set all-time hottest temperature records in 2011, and one nation set an all-time coldest temperature record. Image credit: Ilissa Ocko, Princeton University.

By Dr. Jeff Masters, in a Wunderblog repost

The year 2011 was the tenth warmest year on record for the globe, but the warmest year on record when a La Niña event was present (Ricky Rood has a discussion of this in his lastest post.) Seven nations and one territory broke all-time hottest temperature records. This is a far cry from 2010 (which tied for the warmest year on record), when twenty nations (plus one UK territory) set all-time hottest temperature records. One all-time coldest temperature record was set in 2011; this was the first time since 2009 one of these records was set. The all-time cold record occurred in Zambia, which ironically also set an all-time hottest temperature record in 2011. Here, then, are the most most notable extreme temperatures globally in 2011, courtesy of weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera:

  1. Hottest temperature in the world in 2011: 53.3°C (127.9°F) in Mitrabah, Kuwait, August 3
  2. Coldest temperature in the world in 2011: -80.2°C (-112.4°F) at Dome Fuji, Antarctica, September 18
  3. Hottest temperature in the Southern Hemisphere: 49.4°C (120.9°F) at Roebourne, Australia, on December 21
  4. Coldest temperature in the Northern Hemisphere: -67.2°C (-89°F) at Summit, Greenland, March 18. This is also the coldest March temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere.
  5. Hottest undisputed 24-hour minimum temperature in world history: A minimum temperature of 41.7°C (107°F) measured at Khasab Airport in Oman on June 27

New country hottest temperature records set in 2011

Iraq recorded its hottest temperature on record on August 3, 2011 in Tallil (Ali military airbase), when the mercury hit 53°C (127.4°F). The previous record was 52.3°C recorded at Diwanya FOB airbase a few days before.

Armenia recorded its hottest temperature on record on July 31 in Meghri, when the mercury hit 43.7°C (110.7°F). The previous record was 43.1°C in Meghri on July 17, 2005.

Iran recorded its hottest temperature in its history on July 28, 2011, when the mercury hit 53°C (127.4°F) at Dehloran. The previous previous record was set just one day earlier at Omidieh and Shoshtar, when the mercury hit 52.6°C (126.6°F). Older hotter temperatures have been measured in Iran using automated stations, but these temperatures have been found to be overestimated.

Kuwait recorded its hottest temperature on record on August 3, 2011, when the mercury hit 53.3°C (127.9°F) at Mitrabah. The previous record was 53.1°C in Sulaibiya on June 15, 2010. The Kuwait Meteorological Center confirmed the reading as authentic, though the temperature sensor had problems between 2009 and July 2010. Some temperatures as high as 53.5°C measured at the Kuwait City Airport during 2011 were in error. The 53.3°C (127.9°F) at Mitrabah thus represents:

1) The hottest temperature measured on Earth in 2011
2) New official national record for Kuwait
3) Second highest (undisputed) temperature ever recorded in Asia
4) Highest temperature ever recorded in an Arabic country
5) Third hottest location in the planet together with Lake Havasu City, AZ (after Death
Valley, CA and Moenjodaro, Pakistan)
6) A new world record for August

China broke its national heat record for both uninhabited and inhabited locations on July 14, 2011, when the temperature soared to 50.2°C (122.4°F) at a automatic station near Adyngkol Lake (just south of Turfan), and 49.4°C (120.9°F) at the town of Tuyoq. A higher reading of 50.7°C at Aydingkol Mirabilite on 23 July 1986 has not been verified as official by the Chinese.

Republic of the Congo set a new all-time extreme heat record on March 8, 2011, when the temperature hit 39.2°C (102.6°F) at M’Pouya. Congo’s previous all-time hottest temperature was 39.0°C (102.2°F) at Impfondo on May 14, 2005.

Zambia set an all-time national heat record of 109.0°F (42.8°C) at Mfuwe, on October 26, 2011, breaking the previous national record of 108.1°F (42.3°C) also set at Mfuwe, on November 17, 2010. A no longer functioning station at Lusitu, Zambia measured a higher temperature in November 1990, but surrounding stations were all about 10°C cooler, so the Lusitu 1990 reading is considered unreliable.

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands Territory tied its all-time hottest temperature record when Europa Island recorded 35.6°C (96.1°F) on November 12, 2011. The previous record was set at Juan de Nova Island on March 31, 1997.

New country coldest temperature records set in 2011
For the first time since 2009, a new national extreme cold temperature record was set. Zambia set an all-time national cold record of -9°C (16°F) at Choma on June 27, 2011, breaking the previous national record of -8°C (18°F), set on July 10, 1898, at Nalisa Western Province.

Special mention:
Russia had its hottest temperature on record at a regular synoptic reporting staion on July 30, 2011, when the mercury hit 44.3°C (111.7°F) at Divnoe in Russia’s Kalmykia Republic. Three hotter temperatures have been recorded at automated stations: 45.4°C in 2010 at a hydrological station at Utta, plus readings of 45°C at El’ton and 44.5°C at Verhjnky Baskunkak in August 1940.

Weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera is the primary source of the weather records listed here and has worked tremendously hard to research them. He 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.

Other posts looking back at the remarkable weather events of 2011
U.S. weather in 2011: unprecedented rains and wet/dry extremes
Top ten global weather events of 2011
2011: Year of the Tornado
Deadliest weather disaster of 2011: the East African drought
Tropical Storm Lee’s flood in Binghamton: was global warming the final straw?
Wettest year on record in Philadelphia; 2011 sets record for wet/dry extremes in U.S.
Hurricane Irene: New York City dodges a potential storm surge mega-disaster

— Dr. Jeff Masters, in a Wunderblog repost

Relate Climate Progress Post:

“Climate dice,” describing the chance of unusually warm or cool seasons relative to climatology, have become progressively “loaded” in the past 30 years, coincident with rapid global warming.   The distribution of seasonal mean temperature anomalies has shifted toward higher temperatures and the range of anomalies has increased.  An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (σ) warmer than climatology.

This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth’s surface in the period of climatology [1951-1980], now typically covers about 10% of the land area.  We conclude that extreme heat waves, such as that in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, were “caused” by global warming, because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming.


6 Responses to Seven National All-Time Heat Records Set in 2011

  1. Raul M. says:

    What is the best way to say about the warmer temps in the Arctic during winter?
    As the winter warms more than the summer and the warming happens more in the Arctic than other areas.

  2. Mark says:

    Any wet bulb temperature records set?

  3. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    What happens in the next big El Nino?

  4. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Well here we may get a summer again. Seems like this is going to be the second year in a row with no summer – nothing over 35C so far and way below average again today. But then again, perhaps I should be careful in what I wish for, ME

  5. Joan Savage says:

    Part of the answer about prospects for the next El Nino is in a graph in the Ricky Rood post that is linked in Jeff Masters’ post.

    Rood link:

    Note how in a year following a La Nina, the global temperature anomaly has been over 0.1 C higher than in the La Nina anomaly immediately preceding.
    That’s in recent decades. Earlier in the mid-twentieth century, the post-La Nina shift was closer to a 0.2 C uptick. As the whole pattern increases, the El Nino anomalies are getting ‘closer’ to the La Ninas.

  6. Joan Savage says:

    Rood distinguishes between La Nina and “Other” so which of those “Other” years are the “big El Ninos”anyway?