Fact Check: 63°C claim from Kuwait — is it really a world record?


Last Saturday, Kuwait reportedly recorded the highest temperature on Earth at 63°C under sunlight (and 52.2°C in the shadows). The claim was reported Thursday in Gulf News, which quoted the Al Qabas newspaper, and added that Al Majmaah in Saudi Arabia recorded 55°C. Unless the Kuwait temperature is verified, however, the world record stands at 56.7°C, recorded at Death Valley in Furnace Creek Ranch, California, on July 10, 1913.

The United Nations agency World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has often examined claims of weather and climate records. One temperature claim found invalid was of 58ºC, said to be recorded at El Azizia, Libya, on September 13, 1922. In 2011, an investigation found an error in recording that temperature; in 2012, the WMO declared Death Valley’s 56.7°C as “officially” the highest on record.

Fact check: 63°C claim from Kuwait: is it really a world record?



Other claims include 54°C — separately in Mitrabah, Kuwait (July 21, 2016) and Turbat, Pakistan (late May 2017). The WMO set up separate committees to examine these claims from Asia, and on top of these come the latest claims of 63°C and 55°C. In a WMO database hosted on the Arizona State University website, the highest ever temperature for Asia is listed as “currently under investigation”.

For India, the record is 51°C, witnessed in Phalodi, Rajasthan, on May 19, 2016. This is mentioned in various documents of the India Meteorological Department as well as the WMO.