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WMO has recognized a temperature of -69.6°C (-93.3°F) at an automatic weather station in Greenland on 22 December 1991 as the lowest ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere.
The temperature record was uncovered after nearly 30 years by “climate detectives” with the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes. It eclipses the value of -67.8°C recorded at the Russian sites of Verkhoyanksk (February 1892) and Oimekon (January 1933).
The world’s coldest temperature record, of -89.2°C (-128.6°F) on 21 July 1983, is held by the high-altitude Vostok weather station in Antarctica.
The WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes includes records such as the world’s highest and lowest temperatures, rainfall, heaviest hailstone, longest dry period, maximum gust of wind, longest lightning flash and weather-related mortalities.
The weather station at Verkhoyanksk, which previously held the northern hemisphere cold temperature record, hit the headlines when it recorded a temperature of 38°C on 20 June during a prolonged Siberian heatwave. WMO is currently verifying whether this is a new record high temperature north of the Arctic Circle (a new category for the archive).
In the era of climate change, much attention focuses on new heat records. This newly recognized cold record is an important reminder about the stark contrasts that exist on this planet.

26 June, 2020: A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) committee of experts has established two new world records for the longest reported distance and the longest reported duration for a single lightning flash in, respectively, Brazil and Argentina.

The new records for “megaflashes”, verified with new satellite lightning imagery technology, more than double the previous values measured in the United States of America and France. The findings were published by the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters ahead of International Lightning Safety Day on 28 June.

WMO’s Committee on Weather and Climate Extremes, which maintains official records of global,
hemispheric and regional extremes found that:

• The world’s greatest extent for a single lightning flash is a single flash that covered a horizontal distance of 709 ± 8 km (440.6 ± 5 mi) across parts of southern Brazil on 31 October 2018. This is equivalent to the distance between Boston and Washington DC in the United States of America or between London and the border of Switzerland near Basel.

• The greatest duration for a single lightning flash is 16.73 seconds from a flash that developed continuously over northern Argentina on 4 March 2019.

The press release can be downloaded:
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/wmo-certifies-megaflash-li...

The World Meteorological Organization will seek to verify claims of a new Arctic record temperature of 38° Celsius (100.4 F) in the Russian town of Verkoyansk amid a prolonged Siberian heatwave and increase in wildfire activity. The record was reported by media to have occurred on 21 June in a place which is more traditionally regarded as one of the world’s coldest places. WMO is asking for confirmation of the temperature from the Russian state meteorological agency Roshydromet. The WMO Weather and Climate Extremes Archive will seek to verify whether this is a new Arctic record.

The Argentine research base, Esperanza, on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, set a new record temperature of 18.3°C on 6 February 2020, potentially beating the former record of 17.5°C on 24 March 2015, according to Argentina’s national meteorological service (SMN).

A committee for WMO’s Weather and Climate Extremes Archive will now verify whether this indeed is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass.

“Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record but we will of course begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event. The record appears to be likely associated (in the short term) with what we call a regional "foehn" event over the area: a rapid warming of air coming down a slope/mountain,” according to WMO’s Weather and Climate Extremes rapporteur, Randall Cerveny.

The WMO official Press Release:
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/new-record-antarctic-continent-repo...

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has officially evaluated temperature record extremes of 54.0 °C at two locations, one in Mitribah, Kuwait, on 21 July 2016 and a second in Turbat, Pakistan, on 28 May 2017.

In its most intensive evaluation ever undertaken, the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, has verified the Mitribah observation as 53.9 °C (± 0.1 °C margin of uncertainty) and the Turbat one as 53.7 °C (± 0.4 °C).

The Mitribah, Kuwait temperature is now accepted by the WMO as the highest temperature ever recorded for the continental region of Asia and the two observations are the third (tied within uncertainty limits) and fourth highest WMO-recognized temperature extremes. Significantly, they are the highest, officially-recognized temperatures to have been recorded in the last 76 years.

Full details of the assessment are given in the on-line issue of the International Journal of Climatology published on 17 June 2019.

Full press release is at:
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/wmo-verifies-3rd-and-4th-h...

On 23 March 2015 an automatic weather station established by the Czech Republic on Davies Dome in the northern part of Ulu Peninsula, James Ross Island recorded a temperature of 17.9°C (64.2°F). A panel of polar meteorology experts from the Czech Republic, Argentina, Spain, Morocco, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States carefully examined the data involved with the Davies Dome observation to determine if its observation would be the new accepted record for continental highest temperature of the Antarctic Region. That 2015 Davies Dome observation was recorded a day before the current WMO accepted record of 17.5°C (63.5°F) was observed at Esperanza Base (Argentina) in the same general location in the Antarctic Region.

After an extensive assessment, it was the unanimous recommendation of the WMO committee that the Davies Dome observation be adjusted down to 17.0°C ± 0.2°C (62.6°F ± 0.4°F) and that the Davies Dome observation be accepted as the « second highest » temperature recorded in the Antarctic Region (continent only). This recommendation follows a detailed discussion by the committee of the probability that the station experienced solar radiation bias on the temperature-recording instrument at the time of the record observation. In simple terms, the committee suggested that the temperature sensor at Davies Dome was heated to around 0.9°C (1.6°F) above the true air temperature by a combination of high solar radiation (coming both directly from the sun and also reflected from the underlying ice surface) and low wind speed.

– The World Meteorological Organization has announced new « world records » for the highest reported death tolls from tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms. It marks the first time the official WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes has broadened its scope from temperature and weather records to address the impacts of specific events.

The findings were announced just ahead of two major conferences on improving multi-hazard early warning systems and strengthening disaster risk reduction, taking place in Cancun, Mexico from 22 to 26 May and organized by WMO and the UN Office on Disaster Risk Reduction.

« Extreme weather causes serious destruction and major loss of life. That is one of the reasons behind the WMO’s efforts to improve early warnings of multiple hazards and impact-based forecasting, and to learn lessons gleaned from historical disasters to prevent future ones, » said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. « The human aspect inherent in extreme events should never be lost, » he said.

A WMO committee of experts conducted an in-depth investigation of documented mortality records for five specific weather-related events. It is hoped in the future to add more event impacts to the Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, which is maintained by the WMO Commission for Climatology and documents details of records for heat, cold, wind speed, rainfall and other events. The findings were as follows:

• Highest mortality associated with a tropical cyclone: an estimated 300,000 people killed directly as result of the passage of a tropical cyclone through Bangladesh (at time of incident, East Pakistan) of 12-13 November, 1970.

• Highest mortality associated with a tornado: an estimated 1,300 people killed by the 26 April 1989 tornado that destroyed the Manikganj district, Bangladesh.

• Highest mortality (indirect strike) associated with lightning: 469 people killed in a lightning-caused oil tank fire in Dronka, Egypt, on 2 November 1994.

• Highest mortality directly associated with a single lightning flash: 21 people killed by a single stroke of lightning in a hut in Manica Tribal Trust Lands in Zimbabwe (at the time of incident, Rhodesia) on 23 December 1975.

• Highest mortality associated with a hailstorm: a severe hailstorm occurring near Moradabad, India, on 30 April, 1888, which killed 246 people with hailstones as large as “goose eggs and oranges and cricket balls.”

We are announcing new records on Wednesday, 1 March 2017 for Antarctic High Temperatures and for Global Tropical Cyclones. New verified Record Extremes now exist for the Antarctic Region's highest temperature (corresponding to all lands/ice south of 60deg;S), the Antarctic Region's highest temperature (continent, including the mainland and adjoining islands), and the Antarctic Region's highest temperature (plateau > 2500 meters). Additionally, new verified Record Extremes now exist for Western Hemisphere's most intense tropical cyclone (by central pressure) and a new (tied) record extreme for World's most intense tropical cyclone (by sustained surface wind speed).

We are in the process of updating the site with this new information so some entries may be under development for a short while.

A World Meteorological Organization expert committee has established a new world record wave height of 19 meters (62.3 feet) measured by a buoy in the North Atlantic. The wave was recorded by an automated buoy at 0600 UTC on 4 February 2013 in the North Atlantic ocean between Iceland and the United Kingdom (approximately 59° N, 11° W). It followed the passage of a very strong cold front, which produced winds of up to 43.8 knots (50.4 miles per hour) over the area. The previous record of 18.275 meters (59.96 feet) was measured on 8 December 2007, also in the North Atlantic. The WMO Commission for Climatology’s Extremes Evaluation Committee classified it as “the highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy”. The Committee consisted of scientists from Great Britain, Canada, the United States of America and Spain.

The full press release is at:
http://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/19-meter-wave-sets-new-record

The Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization has announced two new lightning extremes determined by a World Meteorological Organization committee of experts: the longest reported distance and the longest reported duration for a single lightning flash in, respectively, Oklahoma (United States of America) and southern France.

The lightning flash over Oklahoma in 2007 covered a horizontal distance of 321 kilometers (199.5 miles). The lightning event over southern France in 2012 lasted continuously for 7.74 seconds, the WMO evaluation committee found.

“Lightning is a major weather hazard that claims many lives each year,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. ”Improvements in detecting and monitoring these extreme events will help us improve public safety.”

It is the first time that lightning has been included in the official WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, which is maintained by the WMO Commission for Climatology and documents details of records for heat, cold, wind speed, rainfall and other events.

Full details of the assessment are given in the on-line issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (http://journals.ametsoc.org/toc/bams/current) published on 15 September.

Dramatic improvements in lightning remote sensing techniques have allowed the detection of previous unobserved extremes in lightning occurrence and so enabled the WMO committee to conduct a critical evaluation.

The WMO evaluation committee judged that the world’s longest detected distance for a single lightning flash occurred over a horizontal distance of 321 km (199.5 miles) using a maximum great circle distance between individual detected VHF lightning sources. The event occurred on 20 June 2007 across the state of Oklahoma.

The committee also accepted the world’s longest detected duration for a single lightning flash as a single event that lasted continuously for 7.74 seconds on 30 August 2012 over Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France.

“This investigation highlights the fact that, because of continued improvements in meteorology and climatology technology and analysis, climate experts can now monitor and detect weather events such as specific lightning flashes in much greater detail than ever before,” said Randall Cerveny, chief Rapporteur of Climate and Weather Extremes for WMO.

“The end result reinforces critical safety information regarding lightning, specifically that lightning flashes can travel huge distances from their parent thunderstorms. Our experts’ best advice: when thunder roars, go indoors,“ he said.

The investigating committee was composed of lightning and climate experts from the United States, France, Spain, China, Morocco, Argentina, and the United Kingdom. As part of their evaluation, the committee also unanimously agreed that the existing formal definition of “lightning discharge” should be amended to a "series of electrical processes taking place continuously" rather the previously specified time interval of one second. This is because technology and analysis have improved to the point that lightning experts now can detect and monitor individual lightning flashes with lifetimes much longer than a single second.

Validation of these new world lightning extremes (a) demonstrates the recent and on-going dramatic augmentations and improvements to regional lightning detection and measurement networks, (b) provides reinforcement to lightning safety concerns that lightning can travel large distances and so lightning dangers can exist even long distances from the parent thunderstorm, and (c) for lightning engineering concerns.

A World Meteorological Organization panel has concluded that a temperature of -25.6°C observed at Ranfurly in New Zealand on 17 July 1903 holds the record as the coldest temperature recorded for the Southwest Pacific Region. Over the last several months, a WMO international committee of experts conducted an in-depth investigation of the extreme for the Southwest Pacific region (WMO Region V). The investigation was conducted with the support of New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) for the WMO Commission for Climatology’s World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes. The investigating committee was composed of climate experts from Australia, Egypt, France, Libya, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and the United States of America. It was established following the 2011 discovery by NIWA staff of the Eweburn, Ranfurly 1903 temperature observation of -25.6°C (-14°F).

Some entries are under construction as we transition to the official WMO Region categories. We thank you for your understanding and patience.