Iran, Middle East, ‘basking’ in center-of-the-sun heat

heat map

Pity the average Iranian: Not only are they citizens of a nation where significant conservative and religious elements play a leading role in governance; double-digit inflation has eroded savings; and women have seen their place in society significantly diminished over the past 40 years, Iranians are living in what, at present, is about as close to hell-like conditions as exist on Earth.

Temperatures in the Middle Eastern nation have soared to nearly 160 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to a recent heat wave.

In Iran’s city of Bandar Mahshahr the heat index last week was among the highest ever recorded, at 163 degrees.

A group of astonished weather experts believe the country could be enduring some of the hottest urban temperatures ever endured by mankind, according to The Telegraph.

“That was one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world,” AccuWeather meteorologist Anthony Sagliani said in a statement.

The heat index in Bandar Mahshahr were just a few degrees lower than the highest-ever recorded heat index, which was 178 Fahrenheit, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in July 2003.

The heat forced officials in nearby Iraq to call a four-day public holiday because it was too hot to work, the result of a “heat dome” that is leaving the Middle East sweltering.

“A strong ridge of high pressure has persisted over the Middle East through much of July, resulting in the extreme heat wave in what many would consider one of the hottest places in the world,” Sagliani said.

The dome is a type of high pressure ridge and has exacerbated electricity and water supply issues, adding to the miserable conditions, according to The Telegraph.

By comparison, the hottest temperature ever recorded in the United States is a relatively balmy 134 degrees Fahrenheit, in Death Valley, Calif., on July 10, 1913. No word on what the heat index was on that day more than a century ago.

(Top: Graphic showing temperatures in the Middle East late last week.)

Signs of scientific awakening in Muslim world

Islamic science

Islam’s reputation for hostility to science is a modern phenomenon.

As has been well documented, the Muslim world was a dynamo for scientific development during the time Europe was ensnared in darkness and superstition.

How advanced was Islam’s scientific community? Extremely advanced, according to Physics Today.

“Islam’s magnificent Golden Age in the 9th–13th centuries brought about major advances in mathematics, science, and medicine,” the publication wrote in 2007. “The Arabic language held sway in an age that created algebra, elucidated principles of optics, established the body’s circulation of blood, named stars, and created universities.”

The Economist highlights several of Islam’s scientific greats:

  • Avicenna wrote the “Canon of Medicine” in the 11th century, a standard medical text used in Europe for hundreds of years;
  • Muhammad al-Khwarizmi laid down the principles of algebra, a word derived from the name of his book, “Kitab al-Jabr,” in the ninth century;
  • Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham transformed the study of light and optics, and is known as the father of modern optics and scientific methodology; and
  • Abu Raihan al-Biruni calculated the earth’s circumference to within a single percent and has also been called the first anthropologist.

In addition, Muslim scholars did much to preserve the intellectual heritage of ancient Greece; centuries later it helped spark Europe’s scientific revolution.

Unfortunately, this period of great development came to a screeching halt long ago.

Continue reading