What is the coldest sea temperature ever recorded

Meteorology: The 10 Most Extreme Weather Records on Earth

When and where was it hottest on earth - and coldest? Where did the heaviest rain fall? And which storms reached top speeds?

You can always talk about the weather. Ten weather records prove that this is by no means boring small talk - from the hottest day of temperature measurements to the strongest continuous rain to storms that would really blow you away. Germany, on the other hand, can consider itself lucky because we do not know of such extremes here. Incidentally, the data naturally refer to the time since the beginning of modern weather records and not to the entire history of mankind.

In the summer of 2015, Germany sweated in some places at a desert-like 40.3 degrees Celsius - as measured in July and August in the Franconian town of Kitzingen. In a global comparison, however, this record seems tepid. The highest temperature to date that has been recorded and officially recognized since the beginning of weather records was reached in California's Death Valley on July 10, 1913: the thermometer in Furnace Creek in the center of the depression showed a hot 56.7 degrees Celsius. The World Meteorological Organization confirmed this value a few years ago and thus settled a long dispute. The Libyan town of El Azizia, which is said to have reached 58 degrees Celsius on September 13, 1922, also competed for this title; but a check of the data and facts of the location ultimately spoke against the fact that this peak had actually been reached. There are also other maximum values, albeit also invalid. Satellite measurements of surface temperatures, for example, showed a hot 70.7 degrees Celsius directly on the surface in the Lut desert in Iran. But they don't count because the official temperatures have to be measured at a height of two meters.

The differences between the lowest temperatures in Germany and worldwide are even clearer than in the heat: Our absolute negative value is currently minus 45.9 degrees Celsius, measured on December 24, 2001 at Funtensee in the Berchtesgaden Alps. However, this is not officially recognized by the German Weather Service, but comes from the private weather service Meteomedia. This is due to the special location of the water in a hollow in the mountains, in which cold air can collect. Compared to the Russian Antarctic station Vostok, however, it is almost cozy even on bitterly cold nights at Funtensee: minus 89.2 degrees Celsius on July 21, 1983 is currently the negative point on the East Antarctic ice sheet, which is already known for extremely low values ​​- it is considered the global cold pole. "To blame" for this is also the high location of the station, which is almost 3500 meters above sea level - the thin air also favors the winter cooling during the polar night.

Spearfish is actually a small, unspectacular nest that lies in the seemingly endless expanse of the prairie in the US state of South Dakota - after all, from there it is only a few kilometers to the geographic center of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. However, the town has a remarkable record: nowhere else have meteorologists measured a similar steep rise in temperature in a short time as there. In just two minutes on January 22nd, 1943 at 7:30 a.m., the mercury columns of the thermometers shot up from minus 20 to 8.3 degrees Celsius - caused by a warm falling wind called Chinook, a relative of our Alpine foehn. The tricky thing about the wintry Chinook, however, is its inconsistency, because as soon as the downwinds stop, the temperatures plunge back into the ice cellar. Spearfish enjoyed another rise to 12 degrees Celsius that January day until around 9 a.m., but then the hair dryer died. The originally prevailing Arctic air masses were able to prevail again within 27 minutes, and the values ​​now plummeted by 32 Kelvin to the low point in the morning.

Islands in the earth's passport zone are characterized by extreme contrasts in precipitation - as is the case with the French overseas territory of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. While the sun shines on the west side in the rain shadow of the local mountains for at least 300 days a year, it is soaking wet in the south-east. The south-easterly wind constantly brings in humid air masses, which accumulate, cool down and rain down on the Réunions volcanoes, so that they alone bring around 8,000 millimeters of rain a year. This can be increased to the extreme when the rain clouds of a hurricane hit the island 670 kilometers east of Madagascar: from January 7th to 8th, 1966, the tropical cyclone "Denise" passed the island and charged 1825 millimeters within 24 hours It rains on the island's Foc-Foc plateau - in Hamburg it rains an average of 770 millimeters all year round.

In contrast to rain records, recording snow peaks is more complicated. The World Meteorological Organization, which is responsible for recognizing extreme weather conditions, does not record such maximum values, as snowfall is very difficult to measure and there is no global standard. Historically, only the USA, Canada and Japan have long-term observation series, while in Europe it is mainly measured how much liquid fell from the sky - i.e. how much water is released when the snow melts. The small village of Capracotta in the Italian Apennines therefore only bears its title as snow world champion unofficially. However, the amount of snow here on March 5, 2015 within 24 hours is record-breaking: A strong Adriatic low brought more than 250 centimeters of snow here in one day, as MeteoWeb reported (with photos). However, this value is doubted by meteorologists, since there was already snow when more flakes fell from the sky. They estimate the actual value to be an equally impressive 80 centimeters. Incidentally, Mount Baker in the USA holds the maximum value within one winter, where 29 meters had accumulated in the winter of 1998/99.

Only when the ice grains exceed a diameter of 0.5 centimeters do meteorologists speak of hail - everything below that is considered sleet. And while in Germany the economic damage caused by hail is feared above all, life-threatening chunks also occur in other parts of the world: The absolute and recognized record holder is a storm on April 14, 1986 in the Gopalganj district in Bangladesh - at that time up to were rattled Projectiles weighing kilograms to the earth; the authorities counted a total of 92 fatalities as a result of the event. And while here in land mostly hailstones with a diameter of only a few centimeters occur, observers measured on July 23, 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota, chunks with a diameter of 20 centimeters and more than 47 centimeters in circumference. Hail forms in supercooled thunderclouds when water freezes to ice on so-called crystallization nuclei. Also important are strong updrafts in the cloud, which repeatedly pull the ice grain upwards so that it can grow. Otherwise it will fall out of the cloud too quickly because of its weight.

Compared to temperature or precipitation, the meteorological factor global radiation is a relatively new measurand - in Germany, for example, it has only been recorded locally since 1937 and across the board since the 1970s. Temperature series, on the other hand, go back well into the 19th century. In addition, there is no dense global network for global radiation. The two geographers Michael Richter and Paul Emck from the University of Erlangen reported a previously unofficial world record for peak values ​​for this parameter, which is composed of the direct shadowing solar radiation and, for example, parts reflected by clouds, from a four-year series of measurements in the Andes of southern Ecuador: 1832 Their sensors recorded watts per square meter as the maximum value. The radiation from the sun alone arrives at the earth's atmosphere with an intensity of 1340 watts per square meter; so the rest was accounted for by reflected radiation. At times they even doubted the reliability of their devices, but a careful check showed that everything had worked perfectly.

Anyone who lays on the beach in the Mediterranean region has to reckon with a UV index of 8 to 9 - the solar radiation is then so intense that one should protect oneself to avoid skin damage. Compared to the values ​​that German and US geoscientists around Nathalie Cabrol from the SETI Institute Carl Sagan Center and Uwe Feister from the Meteorological Observation Center in Lindenberg measured in the Andes of Bolivia, these values ​​seem like small things: During their observations in 2003 and in 2004, on December 29th, their sensors recorded an index peak of 43.3 - more has never been recorded on earth before. "When the index reaches a value of 30 to 40, it is best not to be outside any more," says Cabrol, who led the research. Several factors contributed to this record high. The researchers installed their dosimeters at the summit of the Licancabur volcano at an altitude of almost 6,000 meters and at the Laguna Blance at 4,340 meters above sea level: The thin mountain air favors high levels of irradiation, as there is less ozone in the stratosphere above it. which normally filters out UV-B radiation. At the same time, the sun was close to its zenith at the record. Still, other factors had to be added to drive the index so high. According to the scientists, aerosols from seasonal forest fires and previous storms had contributed to the depletion of ozone, as had a strong solar flare two weeks before December 29th. The particles from these eruptions affect the chemical composition of the atmosphere and very likely destroy protective ozone molecules in the process.

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