It’s happened again. After setting a national record for the hottest temperature during the month of March, the temperature in Nawabshah, in the Sindh Province of Pakistan, hit 50.2 degrees Celsius, or 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit, on April 30.
If the temperature reading was accurate, then the new record narrowly beat the old national monthly record of 50 degrees Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit, set on April 19, 2017.
Nawabshah has a population of 1.1 million and is located about 120 miles from the Indian Ocean. The intensity of the heat was enough to grind activity in the city to a halt, according to local media.
“The unbearable heat forced people to remain indoors throughout the day,” the Dawn newspaper reported. “Roads and markets wore a deserted look and business activities came to a halt. The worst sufferers of heatstroke were labourers and motorcyclists.”
🌡️🔥Exceptionnel 50.2°C à Nawabshah au #Pakistan ce lundi 30/04/2018, #RECORD national de chaleur pour un mois d’avril ! 🔥🌡️
(précédent : 50°C à Larkana le 19/04/2017)
*** aussi un nouveau record mensuel pour tout le continent asiatique ! *** pic.twitter.com/GTCOJuDT9Q
— Etienne Kapikian (@EKMeteo) April 30, 2018
Meteorologist Etienne Kapikan of Meteo France was the first to call attention to the record in a post on Twitter.
He said the 50.2-degree reading was a new record for the entire continent of Asia, which is impressive considering the heat that builds up in spring, before the monsoon rains arrive, in neighboring India.
According to the Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang blog, the heat record in Pakistan also holds up as the world’s hottest temperature for the month of April:
Christopher Burt, an expert on global weather extremes, went a step further. In an email he said it probably was also the highest temperature “yet reliably observed on Earth in modern records.”
The competing hottest April temperature of 123.8 degrees (51.0 Celsius) set in Santa Rosa, Mexico, in April 2001, is “of dubious reliability,” Burt said.
Unfortunately, this record won’t be investigated like some others are, because the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) does not verify monthly temperature extremes.
As climate change boosts global average temperatures, it is also raising the probability of warm temperature extremes, including monthly temperature milestones like this one. In March, for example, at least seven countries set monthly national high temperature records.
A series of studies on extreme weather and climate events, published in late 2017, found that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing weather events that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. One of the events studied was a late-2016 heat wave in Southeast Asia.
The authors of that study found that the extreme heat in Thailand and India “would not have been possible without climate change.”
With these trends in mind, it may be time for the WMO to begin to keep tabs on such temperature readings, to make sure that the thermometers involved were performing adequately at the time the readings were taken.