A Really Hot Day In Kingston

August 03, 2017 saw the extreme maximum temperature record being broken in Kingston, Jamaica.

What was the temperature like?

The maximum temperature recorded at the Norman Manley Int’l Airport was 36.9°C


Was this a record?

Yes, for Norman Manley Int’l Airport, 36.9°C is the highest temperature ever recorded since 1993.

Was it just as hot in Montego Bay yesterday?

Not quite, Montego Bay also had a hot day but the maximum temperature recorded at Sangster Int’l Airport was a milder 34.9°C. The highest temperature ever recorded in Montego Bay was 35.8°C in June 2012.


How does this Kingston temperature compare with other years?

In 2016, the highest maximum temperature was 35.5°C (July).

In 2015, the highest maximum temperature was 35.3°C (June).

In 2014, the highest maximum temperature was 35.4°C (July).


What about Montego Bay, what were the extreme temperatures there in other years?

In 2016, the highest maximum temperature was 35.0°C (May and July).

In 2015, the highest maximum temperature was 35.6°C (July).

In 2014, the highest maximum temperature was 35.4°C (July).


Is this a heatwave?

No, not by strict definition. The maximum temperature at Norman Manley Airport would have to rise to a really warm 37.6°C (in August) for at least 5 consecutive days.


Then what caused this terrible heat?

Multiple factors combined:

  1. A High Pressure Ridge = air being compressed downward, pushed closer to the earth. The land in turn heats air molecules which remain stagnant at the surface.
  2. Longer daylight hours at this time of year= more time for the land to heat.
  3. Angle of the sun at this time of year = the sun’s rays are directly concentrated over a smaller radius of the land.
  4. Very little clouds when the sun was at the highest angle in the sky = a larger area of the ground was heated.
  5. Little to no rainfall within the last few days.


So how long will it be this hot?

Daily maximum temperatures across Kingston are forecast to average 35.0-36.0°C for today and tomorrow. In Montego Bay, maximum temperatures should average 34.0-35.0°C, also for today and tomorrow. Remember however, that in these summer months it is quite natural for temperatures to spike.


So is this because of climate change and global warming?

Not necessarily. A single extreme temperature event cannot be linked to climate change. Climate change signals require the element of frequency of occurrence. So we would need to have more extreme events like this happening more often to be able to quantify an effect.


That said, this record temperature in Kingston yesterday is certainly what we expect in a warming climate.



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