Tohidul Islam Raso

Research Officer, Dismislab
Media highlights Brazil’s ‘feels like’ temperature as record high
This article is more than 1 month old

Media highlights Brazil's 'feels like' temperature as record high

Tohidul Islam Raso

Research Officer, Dismislab

Rio de Janeiro, one of the major cities in Brazil, has experienced extreme heat this week. Some media outlets in Bangladesh have reported this phenomenon (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) as record temperature, stating that the city recorded at 62.3 degrees Celsius on Sunday, March 17th. However, upon verification, it was found that this assertion was inaccurate. The temperature in Rio de Janeiro did not reach 62.3 degrees Celsius; rather, it was a heat index that was recorded.

Somoy TV and Jugantor, two mainstream media outlets in Bangladesh, reported that on Sunday, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the temperature was registered at 62.3 degrees Celsius. They reported the news article citing Al Jazeera.

But following verification of Al Jazeera’s report, Dismislab found that this media identified the weather event as heat index, not temperature. “A heatwave stifling Brazil has set new records with Rio de Janeiro’s heat index hitting 62.3 degrees Celsius” the report reads. 

The Al Jazeera report explained that the heat index is a metric that reflects how the temperature feels, taking into account the humidity of the air. The report indicates “feels like temperature” as the heat index.

According to Rio Alert, the regional meteorological authority, the peak temperature documented in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, March 18th, was 42 degrees Celsius.

The Times of India, an Indian media outlet, also reported that Brazil’s 62-degree Celsius heat was perceived as a ‘feels like temperature,’ taking into account the air humidity.

Similarly, some Bangladeshi media (1, 2) covered the incident saying it was ‘feels like temperature.’

Some other media platforms of Bangladesh, however, did not mention ‘feels like temperature’, rather they labeled it as a record temperature (1, 2). For example, Kalbela, both on their online portal report and Facebook page video report, showed 62.3 degrees Celsius as the record temperature.

To date, the highest recorded temperature globally stands at 56.7 degrees Celsius, documented in Death Valley, California, USA, in the year 1913.