Record Heat in Moscow as City is Blanketed by Smog

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Record highs were broken for the second day in Moscow this week as temperatures on Thursday soared to 37.8ºC (100.8ºF). In the center of the city a high temperature of 35.5ºC (101.3ºF) was recorded yesterday. This set a new record for the city, which exceeded the previous record of 37.5ºC (99.5ºF) only this past Monday. Moscow has been dealing with an ongoing heat wave since mid-June and July was the hottest month in recorded Russian history.

The worst smog Moscow has seen in almost a decade. Image: AFP

Not only is Moscow dealing with the excessive heat, but firefighters have been hard at work battling peat fires near the city. Smog from the fires has posed serious health concerns for 10 million plus residents as pollution levels have been 10 times higher than safe levels. According to Russia’s chief pulmonary physician, the carbon monoxide level was the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes every few hours. Public health officials have urged workers in non-essential jobs to stay home and for people not to drive their cars.

Fires on dry peat bogs continue sending smoke over Moscow. The tiny red dots indicate hotspots of high surface temperatures associated with the fires. The dull gray smoke mixes with opaque white clouds and these can be seen east and northeast of the city. Image: NASA’s Aqua satellite

Those of us who live in the southern U.S. might be saying highs in the upper 90’s are pretty typical for this time of year. However, in Moscow this is very unusual as highs in June, July and August are typically around 23ºC (73ºF). During heat waves, which can occur between May and September, highs often top out around 30ºC (86ºF). I guess you can see now why Moscow’s heat wave is making headlines.

Moscow isn’t the only place seeing record-breaking highs this summer with temperatures almost 18ºF above average for this time of year. Here are a few other areas around the globe breaking records in 2010.

Finland: In Joensuu, Finland on July 29 record high of 99ºF (37.2ºC).

Sudan: In Dongola on June 25 record high of 121.3ºF (49.6ºC). 

Saudi Arabia: In Jeddah, which is the country’s second largest city, temperatures on June 22 rose to 125.6ºF. 

Iraq: On June 14 in Basra, temperatures rose to 125.6ºF (51.9ºC), which broke the previous record of 125.1ºF set back in 1937. 

Pakistan: A record high temperature was record in Mohenjo-daro on May 26 when temperatures soared to 128.3ºF (53.5ºC). Wow, now that’s HOT!

Even though 128.3º is very hot, it’s not the hottest temperature ever recorded. That honor belongs to El Aziziya, Libya with a world record high of 136ºF (58ºC) set on September 13, 1922.



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