Almost all weather phenomena takes place in the troposphere, which is the lower part of the atmosphere, although the stratosphere above can impact weather lower down. Exactly how the stratosphere and the troposphere interact with each other remains largely unknown but we will hopefully learn more about it in the future.
Examples of commonly occurring weather phenomena are wind, rain, snow, fog and thunderstorms, and then we also have more unusual events such as tornadoes, hailstorms, ice storms and cyclones.
The effects of weather phenomena are constantly reshaping the surface of our planet in various ways. Rocks and stones are broken down into smaller pieces, rains can cause soil erosion, suspended materials are transported to lakes and oceans, heavy swells caused by strong winds can shape and re-shape sandy coastlines, and so on.
Humans have tried to predict, and sometimes even influence, the weather for millennia. In our modern time, we use science and technology to aid us in these efforts, but the atmosphere is a system where even a very small change can set off a chain reaction that come to have enormous consequences. Because of this, forecasting the weather is notoriously difficult, especially when it comes to making forecasts for more than a few days into the future.
It is possible to buy insurance to prevent you from future weather event. It is also possible to speculate in weather options. Weather options allows those able to correctly forecast the weather to make a lot of money. Most of these options do however require you to forecast the weather far in to the future and these options contain a large element of gambling. It is in many areas of the world very hard to reliable forecast the weather more then 7-14 days into the future. You can read more about weather based options on this page.
Highest air temperature
The record air temperature registered with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is 56.7 degrees C measured at Furnace Creek (Greenland Ranch), California, USA on 10 July 1913. WMO have suggested that this record-breakingly high temperature might have been caused by a sandstorm. The record is not undisputed, but several other very high temperatures have been recorded in the same area, the so called Death Valley of the United States, including 54 degrees C on 30 June 2013 and 53.9 degrees C in July 1960, 1998, 2005, and 2007.
Examples of other very high air temperatures:
- 54.0 degrees C in Mitribah, Kuwait on 21 July 2016
- 54.0 degrees C at the airport of Ahvaz, Iran on 29 June 2017
- 53.9 degrees C in Basra, Iraq on 21 July 2016
The standard for measuring temperature is measuring the air temperature 1.5 meters above the ground, in a spot shielded from direct sunlight intensity. If you measure the temperature in the sunlight instead, you will of course get a higher reading. Also, measuring closer to the ground than 1.5 meters can have a major impact on the result, as the temperature directly on the ground can exceed air temperature by up to 50 degrees C.
Lowest air temperature
The lowest natural air temperature recorded at ground level on Earth is −89.2 °C. This record was set at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983.
Lowest surface temperature
Thanks to remote sensing satellite technology, we know that the spot 81.8°S 59.3°E on Antarctica had a surface temperature of −93.2 °C on 10 August 2010. This spot is located along a ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, at 3,900 meters above sea level.
Other temperature records
|Highest natural ground surface temperature||93.9°C||Furnace Creek, California, USA||15 July
|Greatest natural temperature increase in 2 minutes||From -20°C to 7°C||Spearfish, South Dakota||22 January
|Highest number of consecutive days above 100°F (37.8 °C)||160 days
|Marble Bar, WA, Australia||31 October 1923 – 7 April 1924|
|Most rain in one minute||38 mm||Barot, Guadeloupe (in the Caribbean)||26 November,
|Most rain in one hour||305 mm||Holt, Missouri, USA||22 June,
|Most rain in 24 hours||1,825 mm||Cilaos, Réunion||7-8 January, 1966|
|Most rain in one year||26,470 mm||Cherrapunji, Meghalaya, India||1860-1861|
|Most snow in 24 hours||256 cm||Capracotta, Italy||5 March, 2015|
|Most snow in a calendar month||9.91 meters||Tamarack, California, USA||January 1911|
|Heaviest hailstone||1.02 kg||Gopalganj District, Bangladesh||14 April, 1986|
|Largest hailstone diameter||20 cm||Vivian, South Dakota, USA||23 July, 2010|
Wind and air pressure records
|Greatest wind speed
This wind was a 3-second gust measured by a DOW unit in a tornado.
|484±32 km/h (302±20 mph)||Between Oklahoma City and Moor in Oklahoma State, USA||3 May,
|Fastest 24-hour average wind speed||174 km/h
|Port Martin, Antarctica||21-22 March,
|Deadliest tornado||1,300 deaths||Daulatpur-Santuria tornado in the Manikganj District, Bangladesh||26 April, 1989|
|Lowest surface air pressure in a cyclone||870 hPa
|Eye of the Super Typhoon Tip over the northwest Pacific Ocean||12 October, 1979|
|Lowest surface air pressure in a cyclone recorded on land||892 hPa
|Eye of the Labor Day Hurricane over Craig Key, Florida, USA||2 September, 1935|
|Longest lightning bolt||321 km||Oklahoma, USA||20 June, 2007|
|Longest duration for a lightning flash||7.74 seconds||Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France||30 August, 2012|
Ultraviolet index record
|Highest UV index||43.3||The Licanbur volcano in the Chile-Bolivia border region||29 December, 2003|