Energy & Environment

What Happens When the Daily High Temperature Outside Exceeds 50 Celsius?

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For those who only read temperatures in Fahrenheit, that’s 122 degrees. And that’s nothing when you compare it to some of the temperature readings this summer in the Middle East.

On July 22, Basra, Iraq, a city of 1.5 million, reached 54 Celsius (129 Fahrenheit) as its daytime high.  In neighbouring Kuwait a similar high was recorded.

In Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, a 36 Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) afternoon high temperature combined with  humidex created a reading of 60 Celsius (140 Fahrenheit).  In Bandar Mahshahr, Iran the same day daytime temperatures of 41 Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) combined with humidex also measured 60 Celsius.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) issued its findings for the month of July 2016 in the last week. Statistically they concluded that July was the warmest month ever recorded. What does that mean? That since modern records of daytime high temperatures measured around the world, beginning around 1880, the Earth has never seen a month warmer than this last one. The data assembled came from 6,300 meteorological stations including sea-based buoys measuring sea surface temperatures, and Antarctic research stations measuring daytime highs over the Southern Pole (in the middle of its winter season).

GISS Director, Gavin Schmidt stated, “July 2016 was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880…it appears almost a certainty that 2016 also will be the warmest year on record.” The line graph depicted below plots seasonal temperature cycles over 136 years of record-keeping by GISS. As you can see by the top line, 2016 has continuously month-over-month recorded record highs. The current record warmth streak dates back to October of last year.

Image credit: NASA/GISS

                                             Image credit: NASA/GISS

Joe Rothstein, Editor of, a resident of Washington, DC, describes what it has been like to live in America’s capital city this summer. With a heat index hitting over 43 Celsius (110 Fahrenheit) every day he asks why a Republican-dominated U.S. Congress continues to support climate science denial initiatives, the latest attempting to muzzle the disclosure about Exxon’s hiding its own research from shareholders and the public about global warming dating back to the 1970s. He states, “A Congress that should be working with President Obama to mitigate the climate-driven crisis is more interested in protecting those who have been denying it.” He points out that the candidate of the Republicans for President has stated in his Twitter feeds “global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Other Trump tweets call it “an expensive hoax!” He describes Trump’s denial as “hilarious, except for the fact that Trump could finish first and….no worse than second in the race for the most powerful office on an ailing Earth.”

Trump global warming denial

In his final comment Rothstein asks the “when” question stating “Those deeply invested in continuing the charade…..are going to lose this battle because they are battling nature itself. The only question is how long will it take….” For those living on the shores of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the call to action to mitigate global warming cannot come soon enough.

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