Sunday, January 8, 2023

World Records of 2022 and Beyond

Zoë Sharp

The year just past seems to have been one of extremes, so I thought I'd compile a few record-breaking facts and figures for your entertainment here.


The coldest temperature during 2022 was recorded at the Vostock Station in Antarctica, which is 3420m or 11,220ft above sea level. Temperatures dropped to -76deg C or -106.2deg F in mid-April.


The coldest surface temperature ever recorded on earth was done by remote sensing via satellite, which reported -93deg C (-135.8deg F) between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji in Antarctica in December 2013.


Records for the hottest temperature are supposed to be recorded 1.5m (4ft 11in) above ground level, and shielded from direct sunlight. I struggled to find a report for 2022, but in May 2021 an unverified figure of 80.8deg C (177.4deg F) was recorded via satellite in both the Lut Desert in Iran and the Sonoran Desert in Mexico.


The hottest temperature ever recorded anywhere on earth was in July 1972, at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, California, measuring 93.9deg C or 201deg F.


Rainfall – or lack of it

The largest recorded rainfall in 2022 was in Mawsynram, a town in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya in northeast India. A series of geographical features mean that Mawsynram has the reputation as the wettest place on earth, and receives the highest rainfall in India. On June 17 2022, 1003.6mm (39.5in) fell in 24 hours.


It would seem that the highest rainfall in 24 hours ever recorded was in October 2005, when 1633.98mm (64.33in) fell on Isla Mujeres, an island off the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico.


The least rainfall occurs in an area of Antarctica known as the Dry Valleys, which have seen no rain for nearly 2 million years. After that comes the Atacama Desert in Chile and Peru, which can occasionally see an average of 1mm (0.039in) rainfall per year.


Wind speed

The highest recorded wind speed in the UK in 2022 was at The Needles, just off the Isle of Wight, where Hurricane Eunice was responsible for winds of 122mph, or 196kph. The highest-ever wind speed recorded was at Barrow Island, Australia, of 253mph (407kph) in 1996 during Tropical Cyclone Olivia.



The place on earth that receives the most lightning strikes is the area surrounding the Catatumbo river, feeding Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. Lightning occurs here up to 300 nights a year, followed by the mountains near Kifuka in the Democratic Republice of the Congo, with over 400 strikes per square mile (230+ per square kilometre).


The largest hailstone ever to fall was on Gopalganj district in Bangladesh in April 1986, when a single piece measuring 1.02kg (2.25lb) fell as part of a hailstorm that killed 92 people.



The largest ever wildfire was in eastern Siberia in 2003. It destroyed over 55 million acres (22 million hectares) of the taiga forests. But the longest-burning fire is at Mount Wingen, known as Burning Mountain in New South Wales, Australia, where a coal seam is reckoned to have been smouldering for the last 6000 years.


Human Records Broken in 2022

The oldest human still living is a French nun called Sister André, who was born on February 11 1904, and will thus be 119 next month. Sister André took over the twin titles as both the oldest living female and the oldest living person when Japanese citizen Kane Tanaka died in April 2022 at the age of 119. Ms Tanaka was born on January 2 1903. The oldest person ever recorded was another French citizen, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived from February 1875 until August 1997, reaching 122 years and 164 days.


The Tallest Man

Sultan Kösen from Turkey is the tallest living man at 8ft 2.82in (251cm) in height. He also has the largest hands, measuring 11.22in (28.5cm) from wrist to the end of his middle finger. Born in 1982 and originally a farmer, Mr Kösen has now moved to Hollywood. The tallest man ever was American Robert Wardlow, who grew to 8ft 11in (272cm) but lived only 22 years, from 1918 to 1940.


The Tallest Woman

The official tallest living woman in 2022 is also from Turkey. She is Rumeysa Gelgi, who not only holds the tallest woman record at 7ft 0.7in (215.16cm), but who also held the tallest teenager record, confirmed in 2014, as well as the largest hands on a living female 9.81in (24.93cm), the longest finger (female) at 4.4in (11.2cm) and the longest back (female) at 23.58in (59.9cm). These latter three world records were confirmed in February 2022.


The tallest ever woman was claimed to be a Dutch woman who died aged just 17 in 1633, Trijntje Keever, although her height of 8ft 4.5in (255cm) was unverified. The only female who was verified to have exceeded 8ft tall was Zeng Jinlian from China, at 8ft 1.75in (248cm). She also lived only 17 years, passing away in 1982.



A new record holder for the title of shortest man living was decided in December 2022. Afshin Esmaeil Ghaderzadeh, from northern Iran, is 2ft 1.6in (65.24cm) tall. He was born in July 2002, and is officially the fourth shortest man ever recorded.


The shortest woman still living is an Indian actress, Jyoti Amge, born in 1993. She is 2ft 0.7in (62.8cm) tall.


The shortest man ever recorded was Chandra Bahadur Dangi from Nepal, at 21.5in (54.6cm), who was born in 1939 and died in 2015. The shortest woman was Pauline Musters from the Netherlands (1876-1895) who was 2ft (61cm) in height.


This week’s Word of the Week is minuscule, which is derived from Latin minusculus, meaning rather small. It is often spelled miniscule, probably in error at first but frequently enough for this to have become a recognised alternative spelling, especially in America. In French, minuscule signifies lower case, as opposed to majuscule (Latin, majusculus, rather large) denoting capital letters.



  1. There are some fascinating articles regarding Jeanne Calment's status as the world's oldest woman. A lot of people are quite skeptical of the claim. One article summing up the findings:

  2. In French, Minuscule is indeed the word for lower case, but it also means "very small, tiny", somebody complaining about very low wages might say: mon salaire est minuscule!

  3. Thanks Zoë. You always find such interesting material. Only 65.24cm tall! That is unbelievable and even more unbelievable than someone being over 2.5 m tall.

  4. I'm trying to imagine a meter of rain in one day...