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.

lightningExamples 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.

Weather forecasting

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. Trading these options are more gambling than investing.  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.

The extremes

Highest air temperature

weatherThe 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

Record Temperature Location Date
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

Precipitation records

Record Value Location Date
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

Record Value Location Date
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

108 mph

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

25.69 inHg

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

26.35 inHg

Eye of the Labor Day Hurricane over Craig Key, Florida, USA 2 September, 1935

Lightning records

Record Value Location Date
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

Record Value Location Date
Highest UV index 43.3 The Licanbur volcano in the Chile-Bolivia border region 29 December, 2003