This summer has been one of the hottest on record in Qatar, according to a meteorological expert from the Civil Aviation Authority, who explained that this year’s temperatures have seen an increase of around 4-5°C compared to two years ago.
“We broke the record this year, with the highest temperature in over 40 years,” said the head of the forecast and analysis section at the meteorological department, Abdulla al-Mannai, adding that whilst 1996, 2000 and 2004 witnessed high temperatures, they were not as hot as this year.
Last year also saw an increase in temperatures around the month of May. Al-Mannai explained that this was because of the position of the sun in comparison to the earth.
The meteorological department currently records temperatures at its site at Doha International Airport, and it was there that the record-breaking temperature of 50.4°C was recorded in July of this year.
Explaining that there is a difference between the actual recorded temperature and what is known as ‘felt temperature,’ he noted that many people may have recorded highs above the 50.4°C officially registered and used by the World Meteorological Organsiation.
However, he pointed that there are a number of factors which contribute to such a difference, currently believed to be around plus or minus 6°C in Qatar.
“People record the temperatures in the car, but there are so many factors which affect this such as heat radiated from the asphalt, heat from the surrounding cars’ exhausts and even the heat generated by the car itself,” he argued.
“We make our measurements in a very controlled environment which is extremely reliable,” he said.
Despite experiencing the hottest day recorded for a significant period of time, the forecaster said that based on average temperatures, Qatar would probably be placed at the midpoint of a list of GCC countries.
Whilst early summer months have seen residents suffering from high temperatures, many are now complaining about the humidity which they claim is also higher than previous years.
However, al-Mannai explained that humidity is not as high as last year, and said that although it may feel more humid this summer, this is down to other factors such as wind and water vapour. Whilst humidity has reached 100% over summer in the past few years, al-Mannai said this is yet to happen in 2010.
And he noted that the humidity in Qatar is less oppressive than other countries in the region, claiming that the atmosphere here is more comfortable than elsewhere.
Looking ahead, al-Mannai said that the changeover from summer to autumn should occur on September 21, and although temperature changes will not be immediately noticeable, he predicted that by October the average temperature will have dropped by around 4-6°C.
The forecaster also predicted that rain levels should remain the same as last year, whilst expressing his hope for a drier and warmer winter than in previous years.
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