News & Politics

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

Comparing our current temperature to other spots on the planet.

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

“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.