Friday, July 8 1921: Phantom record day of the world’s highest temperature

1921 (Taisho 10) Friday, July 8 It will be a phantom day with the world’s highest temperature. It was reported that the world’s highest temperature of 58.8 degrees Celsius was recorded in Basra, Iraq on this day. This record was strangely believed only in Japan for a long time. Even after World War II, it was mentioned in the “Dictionary of Meteorological Conditions” published by Tokyodo Publishing in 1954, and in the “Meteorological Year” in 1967. Some people over a certain age may have learned this Basra record in class. However, in reality, the world record of 56.7 degrees Celsius set in Death Valley, California in the United States on July 10, 1913 is set. Even now, the official world record of WMO (World Meteorological Organization) belongs to this Death Valley.

So where did Basra’s record of 58.8 degrees come from? According to a study by Professor Fujibe Fumiaki of Tokyo Metropolitan University, this was caused by a typographical error by renowned meteorologist Okada Takematsu. In 1922, a meteorologist named Clemens announced in a paper that he set a record of 128.9 degrees Fahrenheit in Basra, Iraq. This is 53.8 °C when recalculated to Celsius. Takematsu Okada quoted this in his book “Meteorology” published in 1934, but the truth seems to be that at that time, what was originally 53.8 degrees Celsius was mistakenly written as 58.8 degrees Celsius, which was believed only in Japan and was not revised until after WWII.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *