A few months ago we interviewed someone at the TV station. He was talking about Iraq and made reference to 130° temperatures. Today an AP reporter was writing about a power outage in Bahrain. He also mentioned 130° temperatures.
Even I will admit, 130° is awfully hot. Unfortunately… or maybe fortunately, in neither case did the temperature hit 130°. In both cases it was about 20° cooler.
I don’t think our interviewee or the AP reporter meant to mislead people. They wanted to show it was hot and grasped for numbers. The Bahrain number might actually refer to the heat index or the thermometer was exposed to the Sun, I’m not sure.
Temperatures are comparable only when they’re measured using the same method. That’s why there are official protocols we use. This is like comparing heights but using different definitions of inches.