The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed this Tuesday the temperature record of 48.8°C reached on August 11, 2021 on the Italian island of Sicily.
“An international panel of atmospheric scientists verified the temperature recorded by an automated weather station in Syracuse, on the Italian island of Sicily.”this UN agency indicated in a statement.
The WMO usually very precisely verifies the data as well as the instruments and conditions under which they are collected. The procedure explains the reason why the new record is validated only two and a half years later.
“Such a thorough examination gives us certainty that our world temperature records are measured appropriately.”explained American geographer Randall Cerveny, WMO rapporteur for climate and extreme weather events.
“Beyond that, the study demonstrates the alarming trend towards the persistence of record temperatures in certain regions of the world”he stressed.
The results of the research carried out by the panel of scientists were published in the journal International Journal of Climatology.
The possible records presented to the WMO are “snapshots of our current climate” and “it is possible, even probable, that even more serious extreme events will occur in Europe in the future,” Cerveny added.
This record has been independently corroborated by a special panel of WMO scientists specialized in the atmosphere, after careful analysis of a multitude of information and elements.
The previous record, of 48 ºC, had been established on July 10, 1977in the Greek cities of Athens and Elefsinaalthough on that occasion the only source was measurements from official entities in Greece and there was no independent evaluation, as in the record announced today.
Since the WMO Europe Region contains parts of Asia (e.g. Israel, Türkiye and Syria) and Greenlandthe extremes established by the organization include both the entire region and the so-called “Continental Europe,” he specified.
“This result is another indication of the alarming trend of high temperature records continuing to be set in specific regions of the world,” said Professor Randall Cerveny, WMO Climate and Meteorological Extremes expert.
The organization, which functions as the scientific arm of the United Nations, indicated that this type of information offers ‘snapshots’ of the current state of the climate and that “it is possible, and even probable, that more extreme phenomena will occur in Europe in the future.”
When that happens, WMO will once again form new evaluation committees and conduct evaluations that take considerable time to reach definitive conclusions.
“These are long procedures due to the care that the WMO puts into the certification of meteorological observations. “This thorough evaluation provides confidence that our global temperature records are being measured correctly,” Cerveny explained.
The evaluation of the record in Sicily included an analysis and calibration of the instruments of the Italian meteorological agency that recorded 48.8 degrees.
The WMO is currently carrying out further investigations related to Hurricane Freddy to establish whether – as is believed – it was the longest hurricane on record.
(With information from AFP and EFE)