Hottest Temperature Ever Measured in September for Europe

Published: 7:30 AM GMT on September 07, 2016

Hottest Temperature Ever Measured in September for Europe

LATE UPDATE: An intense heat wave has occurred in recent days in the Iberian Peninsula with a site in Spain, Sanlucar La Mayor, measuring 46.4°C (115.5°F) on Monday, September 5th. This (if verified) would be the hottest temperature ever observed anywhere in Europe during the month of September. THE SANLUCAR LA MAYOR TEMPERATURE IS APPEARING DUBIOUS. HOWEVER, THE 45.7°C (114.3°F) REPORTED FROM MONTORO, SPAIN MAY BE RELIABLE AND THUS A NEW SEPTEMBER HEAT RECORD FOR EUROPE REGARDLESS. Portugal broke its September monthly heat record with 45.0°C (113.0°F) at Lousa Airport on September 6th. A few days earlier amazing heat also prevailed in the Middle East with Mitribah, Kuwait reaching 51.2°C (124.2°F) on September 4th. This would be the 2nd hottest temperature ever reliably measured on Earth during the month of September. France and the U.K. also noted record heat for September. Here are some more details.

The solar tower plants in Sanlucar la Mayor, Spain had plenty of fuel on September 5th when the temperature at a nearby site may have set a new European monthly heat record of 46.4°C (115.5°F) on September 5th if valid. Photo from Wikicommons.

Spain, Portugal, and Morocco September 4-6

An intense dome of upper-level high pressure centered over southwestern Europe (with the 0°C isotherm as high as 5100 meters measured over Nimes in southern France) has resulted in an unprecedented September heat wave in Spain, Portugal, and parts of Morocco. On September 5th the Spanish site of Sanlucar la Mayor (an agrometeorological station which is in a way the equivalent of a ‘COOP’ site in the U.S.) measured 46.4°C (115.5°F). If valid, this would be the hottest temperature ever observed in Europe during September, surpassing the (possibly unreliable) reading of 45.6°C (114.1°F) measured at San Severo, Italy (in the Apulia region) during September 1946. At first order weather sites the maximum temperature measured was 45.7°C (114.3°F) at Montoro, Spain which would be a new European record even if the Sanlucar La Mayor value was disallowed. As we look at the data from Sanlucar la Mayor it is becoming apparent that this was likely a dubious measurement.

The daily climate table for September 5th at Sanlucar La Mayor (population 15,000) located in southern Spain about 30 miles (50 km) due west of Seville. Table courtesy of Jerome Reynaud from this Spanish met site.

Sanlucar La Mayor is located in the Andalucia region of southern Spain. The lower elevations of Sevilla Province (as well as nearby Cordoba Province), are known for their intense summer heat. Utrera co-holds the record for highest ‘likely’ reliably measured temperature in Spain: 48.0°C (118.4°F) on July 23, 1995 and is in Sevilla Province (Utrera reached 45.7°C/114.3°F on September 5th). Temperatures as high as 50°C (122°F) and 51°C (123.8°F) were reported from the city of Seville in the 19th century (on July 30, 1876 and August 4, 1881) but are considered suspect due to exposure issues.

On September 4th extreme heat was also observed at Seville (44.8°C/112.6°F) and Cordoba with a 45.7°C (114.2°F). The airport at the popular island and tourist destination of Ibiza observed 38.4°C (101.1°F) which smashed its previous all-time (any month) record of 36.6°C (97.9°F). Madrid peaked at a steamy 39.6°C (103.3°F) at its Getafe site on September 5th.

In Portugal a new September monthly heat record was broken at Lousa Airport on September 6th with a 45.0°C (113.0°F), the previous national record (prior to this heat wave) being 44.2°C (111.6°F) at the town of Beja. An all-time (any month) heat record was established at Setubal also on September 5th with a 43.5°C (110.3°F) reading. Lisbon peaked at 38.5°C (101.3°F) on September 4th. The hottest temperature ever reliably measured in Portugal was 47.4°C (117.3°F) at Amareleja during the famous deadly heat wave of August 2003. Across the Strait of Girbraltar, the airport at Fez, in Morocco achieved its all-time (any month) heat record with a 45.1°C (113.2°F) on September 4th.

Wild fires in the region have prompted some inflammatory headlines in Europe such as this from a U.K. newspaper “Europe in Flames as huge wildfires rage out of control in Portugal, France, and Spain." This is an on-going situation as I write so am not able to comment in more detail about the fires at this time.

The Middle East

During the first four days of this month (September 2016) incredible heat was once again endured in Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and many of the Emirate states. The absolute value (once again) fell to Mitribah, Kuwait where 51.2°C (124.2°F) was observed on September 4th. This (if valid) would be the 2nd hottest temperature ever reliably measured on Earth during the month of September, following a 126°F (52.2°C) reading at Mecca, California (in the Salton Depression) on September 1, 1950. Even Death Valley has never been able to achieve a higher temperature in September warmer than 123°F.

Mitribah, Kuwait is an automated weather station located in what is considered the hottest spot in that country. Just last July a potential new Asian heat record of 54.0°C (129.2°F) was measured here on July 21st. Image from Google Earth.

Aside from Kuwait’s national monthly record for September (but included in the list below) were these other monthly national records (for September) established at:

Kuwait 51.2°C (124.2°F) Mitribah on Sept. 4

UAE (United Arab Emirates) 51.1°C (124.0°F) at Mukhariz on Sept. 3

Iran 50.2°C (122.4°F) at Mehran on Sept. 1

Iraq 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Nasiriya Sept. 1

Qatar 49.0°C (120.2°F) at Batna and Shahaniyah on Sept. 2

Saudi Arabia 48.9°C (120.0°F) at Al Ahsa on Sept. 1

The climatological summer (June-August) of 2016 was the warmest (or tied for such) at the following U.S.A. sites

Below is a list of some significant U.S. sites with long-term POR’s (periods of record) that measured their hottest climatological summer (June-August) on record this past summer (2016):

Anchorage, Alaska: 60.7° (previous 60.2° in 2015)

Bishop, California: 77.5° (previous 76.8° in 1994)

Palm Springs, California: 93.6° (previous 93.2° in 1994)

Death Valley, California: 103.3° (previous 102.6° in 2013 and 2007. The 103.4° for the summer of 1915 is suspect)

Las Vegas, Nevada: 93.1° (previous 92.5° in 2007)

Tonopah, Nevada: 75.1° (previous 74.8° in 1996)

W. Palm Beach, Florida: 84.8° (tied with 2011)

Athens, Georgia: 82.2° (tied with 2011)

Savannah, Nevada: 84.2° (previous 84.0° in 2011)

Detroit, Michigan 74.9° (previous 74.8° in 2012)

Akron, Ohio 74.2° (previous 73.8 ° in 1991)

Cleveland, Ohio (previous 75.5 in 1949)

Columbia, South Carolina: 84.8° (previous 84.2° in 2011)

Florence, South Carolina: 83.1° (tied with 1993)

Charleston, South Carolina: 84.1° (previous 83.4° in 2011)

Asheville, North Carolina: 75.7° (previous 75.4° in 2010)

Williamsport, Pennsylvania: 74.4° (previous 73.3° in 1901)

Bridgeport, Connecticut: 75.4° (previous 75.0° in 2010)

NOTE: Both Concord, New Hampshire and Portland, Maine had their warmest summers in modern records (since 1876). Concord averaged 70.5° (previous 69.9° in 1955 although 72.4° was reported for the summer of 1872 and 72.1° for the summer of 1876). Portland averaged 68.9° (previous 68.7° in 2010 but 70.3° in 1876). Thanks to blog commentator 'tlawson48' for pointing this out!

We have seen some unprecedented heat anomalies in the northern hemisphere beginning this past spring in Southeast Asia, and then during the summer on the Indian sub-continent, Middle East, and also portions of the U.S.A. And now, into this climatological fall, we now see the Iberian Peninsula and the region of the Persian Gulf also observing all-time heat records for their respective locations and/or for the time of season.

LATE UPDATE: On September 7th the French city of Biarritz reached 38.7°C (101.7°F). This was the hottest September temperature measured in mainland France (meaning excluding Corsica) since a 38.8°C (101.8°F) observed at Cap Ferret on September 4, 1949 according to the French web site Keraunos.

The extreme temperature at Biarritz on September 7th was due to a foehn-like wind blowing north off the Pyrenees Mountains to its south. Note how the wind shifted around 3 p.m. to a powerful onshore breeze (gusting to 67 km/h) and cooling the temperature off by some 10°C (18°F) in just one hour. Table from OGIMET.

Also, on September 13th, the temperature at Gravesend, Kent in the U.K. peaked at 34.4°C (93.9°F), the warmest September temperature observed in the U.K. since 1911.

KUDOS: Jerome Reynaud of, and Michael Thuesner of Klimahaus for much of the above information.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

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Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.

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