Climate change: A look at some extreme temperatures recorded worldwide


The World Meteorological Organisation has declared 2021 as one of the seven warmest years on record.

The World Meteorological Organisation has declared 2021 as one of the seven warmest years on record.

The story so far: In March, parts of eastern Antarctica recorded extremely high temperatures that were around 30 degrees Celsius above normal, sounding alarm bells for rapidly progressing climate change. The Concordia base at Antarctica registered a record -11.5 degrees Celsius (11.3 Fahrenheit) on March 18. According to meteorologist Etienne Kapikian, the previous record was 3.7°C on December 17, 2016. 

The World Meteorological Organisation has declared 2021 as one of the seven warmest years on record. The average global temperature last year was over 1.11⁰C higher than the pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 to be the sixth warmest year on record. 

Global temperature anomaly.

Global temperature anomaly.
| Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Here’s a look at some of the extreme temperature that have occurred since 2021.

Hungary

On March 24, 2022 Hungary in eastern Europe recorded its highest ever range in daily temperature in the city of Szécsény. According to the country’s meteorological department, the difference between the minimum and maximum temperature of the day was 31.1 degrees.

Bhutan

Punakha Dzong, the administrative centre of Bhutan’s Punakha district that is relatively warm during the region’s winter season, received snowfall in February 2022 after more than six decades.

Average observed temperature (February 2022) against the long-term average (1996-2021)

Average observed temperature (February 2022) against the long-term average (1996-2021)
| Photo Credit: Weather and Climate Services Division, National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology of Bhutan

Canada

In 2021, Canada recorded a shocking temperature of nearly 50⁰C, similar to that of the hot Saharan Desert.

The temperature in Lytton, British Columbia reached 49.5⁰C in June 2021, breaking the daily and all-time temperature records. This topped Canada’s previous record of 45°C set in July 1937 in Yellow Grass and Midale, Saskatchewan. 

The exceptionally high temperature in British Columbia was part of a larger heatwave that hit the western coast of North America in June 2021. On June 27, Seattle recorded 40°C, the city’s highest temperature ever recorded on any day of the year.

Land surface temperature around Seattle and Tacoma.

Land surface temperature around Seattle and Tacoma.
| Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Brazil

In an extremely rare event, extensive areas of Brazil witnessed frost in mid-2021, thereby destroying most of the coffee plantations in the country.

(With inputs from Angelin Anna George)



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