Is Washington the Hottest City on Earth, or Does It Just Feel That Way?

Comparing our current temperature to other spots on the planet.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

Watch out for puddles of melted ice cream this weekend. Photograph courtesy of iStockphoto.

Is the current heatwave making you think Washington could be one of the hottest places on earth? Well, it’s not, but it might be close. In a random, unscientific check of temperatures around the globe today we found highs of 108 in Dubai, 102 in Baghdad, and 101 in Libya. Las Vegas, Nevada, is forecast to hit 103 today, and Death Valley, California could top out at a ripe 115.

We asked National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climatologist Deke Arndt to give some perspective to the Mid-Atlantic heatwave. While he says “heatwaves happen every year,” this is the third year in a row that a heatwave in our region has set all-time records. Interestingly, he says the heat we have now is not directly related to our relatively mild winter—that connection would be “pretty tenuous”—but they are both tied to long-term warming trends.

“Each individual season is determined by a multitude of factors, and long-term warming is only one of those factors,” he explains. Will we ever have another cool summer? “We could still have cool summers in the future, but the likelihood of warmer summers continues to increase.”

If you’re looking for a cool spot, Stanley, Idaho, is projected to hit a low of 38 degrees at 6 o’clock Saturday morning. If you want to freeze your **s off, this morning at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, the temperature was minus 25. We’ll stick with the heatwave.