This week we investigate the climate and meteorological happenings of a country that’s been all over the news in the last month, Libya. The civil unrest there has been plastered all over the internet and news stations, but one thing you haven’t seen in all of those reports… is rain. Libya is over 90% desert, despite bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and holds a rather impressive distinction. On September 13, 1922, the temperature at Al ‘Aziziyah, a small town southwest of Tripoli in the far northwestern part of the country, reached a scorching 136deg F (57.8C), currently recognized as the official world record for hottest surface temperature ever recorded in a natural setting (although this record is not without controversy). Several years, or even decades in some cases, can pass without some areas of the Libyan Desert seeing precipitation. Without a doubt, Libya is one of the most arid countries on Earth.

The Libyan National Meteorological Centre is the nation’s governing body, but the site in non-operational. Hopefully the unrest there settles down soon.