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The world temperature record

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  2. The world temperature record
  3. Latest satellite launch
  4. The great explorers’ ships
  5. Sea-ice extent
  6. Online library

A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) panel has concluded that the all-time global temperature high of 58°C, attributed for 90 years to El Azizia in Libya, is invalid because of an error in recording the temperature. The announcement follows an occasionally danger-fraught investigation during the 2011 Libyan revolution by an international panel of experts, supported by the Libyan National Meteorological Centre, for the WMO Commission of Climatology World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, the official WMO-verified record of world weather and climate extremes.

The investigating committee comprised climate experts from Libya, Italy, Spain, Egypt, France, Morocco, Argentina, the United States, and two from the UK (Philip Eden and David Parker). It identified five major concerns with the extreme reading: (a) problematical instrumentation, (b) a (probably) inexperienced observer, (c) an observation site over asphalt-like material which was not representative of the native desert soil, (d) poor matching of the extreme to other nearby locations and (e) poor matching to subsequent temperatures recorded at the site. In particular, it concluded that an inexperienced observer made an error of about 7 degC in the reading – probably by reading the wrong end of the magnetic pin used to record the extreme daily temperatures.

Professor Randall Cerveny, Rapporteur of Climate and Weather extremes for the WMO, said this investigation demonstrates that, because of continued improvements in meteorology and climatology, climate experts can now reanalyse past weather records in much more detail than ever before. The end result is an even better set of climate data for analysis of important global and regional questions involving climate variability and change.

The WMO assessment is that the official highest-recorded surface temperature is 56.7°C (134°F), read on 10 July 1913 at Greenland Ranch (Death Valley), California. The extremes archive includes the world's highest and lowest temperatures, rainfall, heaviest hailstone, longest dry period, maximum gust of wind, and hemispheric weather and climate extremes, and is available at http://wmo.asu.edu/

Full details of the assessment are given in the on-line issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00093.1).

Latest satellite launch

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  2. The world temperature record
  3. Latest satellite launch
  4. The great explorers’ ships
  5. Sea-ice extent
  6. Online library

On 17 September the Metop-B satellite was successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The satellite is the second in the Metop series and was transported on a Soyuz rocket into a polar orbit at an altitude of 810 kilometres above Earth's surface. After testing, the European Space Agency handed control to the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). Metop-B will become the main European-controlled operational polar orbiting satellite; its predecessor, Metop-A, has already exceeded its nominal lifetime but will remain in orbit in tandem with the new satellite.

The purpose of Metop-B is to ensure continuity of meteorological observations of atmospheric parameters such as temperature, winds, humidity and cloud properties, as well as sea-surface temperature, ice cover and atmospheric gases. These data are essential for the numerical weather prediction models of national meteorological services around the world, as well as for ongoing climate studies. EUMETSAT and the Met Office are particularly keen to highlight the value of the data, with recent studies suggesting Metop-A accounts for almost 25% of the performance of current NWP forecasts.

The final satellite in the series, Metop-C, is due for launch in 2017.

The great explorers’ ships

  1. Top of page
  2. The world temperature record
  3. Latest satellite launch
  4. The great explorers’ ships
  5. Sea-ice extent
  6. Online library

The wreck of the Terra Nova, the ship that carried Robert Falcon Scott, better known as Scott of the Antarctic, and his team of explorers on their ill-fated expedition to the South Pole in 1910, has been found off the coast of Greenland. The team hoped to be the first to reach the southernmost point, but they were beaten by the better-prepared Norwegian, Roald Amundsen. After the expedition the ship continued to be used until 1943 when it sank, eventually to be discovered after nearly 60 years by a US research team from the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

Work is also underway to salvage the wreck of the polar exploration ship Endur-ance. This ship was lost in the Weddell Sea in 1915 when it was crushed by ice in Antarc-tica whilst carrying the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. The crew was forced to abandon ship during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Incredibly, they survived some months on the ice before finally using the small lifeboats to escape to Elephant Island and ultimately on to the very distant South Georgia where help could be found.

Shackleton was a member of one of Scott's earlier expeditions.

Sea-ice extent

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  2. The world temperature record
  3. Latest satellite launch
  4. The great explorers’ ships
  5. Sea-ice extent
  6. Online library

This year's record Arctic sea-ice minimum has been widely reported in the media. However, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) also announced recently that Antarctic ice extent approached a record high during the 2012 winter season.

They estimate the southern hemisphere ice to have reached 19.44 million square kilometres around 26 September; they attribute this increase to the circumpolar wind flows, which tend to blow the sea ice outwards and help to increase its extent. The experts believe that the extent of sea ice in the Antarctic is more closely linked to wind speeds around the continent than it is to temperature. This season, temperatures appear to have been near average, whilst winds were stronger than usual in response to the thermal contrast between the cold continent and warmer ocean to the north.

More information is available from the NSIDC: http://www.nsidc.org

Online library

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  2. The world temperature record
  3. Latest satellite launch
  4. The great explorers’ ships
  5. Sea-ice extent
  6. Online library

Just a reminder that all (individual) RMetS members can access the complete set of over 65 years of Weather via http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ The content of every issue is shown, enabling any article to be studied, and you can also use the search facility to pursue topics that are of particular interest to you.