An aerial photo of the man-made Pearl-Qatar island in Doha. The UAE accounts for the biggest share of new hotel capacity coming onstream in the Mena region. Image Credit: Rex Features

Manama: Summer 2010 is one of the hottest seasons on record in Qatar, with temperatures having increased by five degrees, in comparison to 2008.

“We broke the record this year, with the highest temperature in over 40 years,” Abdullah Al Mannai, head of the forecast and analysis section at the meteorological department, said.

"Even though 1996, 2000 and 2004 witnessed high temperatures, they were not as hot as this year."

The meteorological department records temperatures at its site at Doha International Airport, and it was there that the record-breaking temperature of 50.4 degrees Celcius was recorded last July.

Explaining that there’s a difference between the actual recorded temperature and what’s known as the ‘felt temperature,’ Al Mannai said that a lot of people have recorded highs above the officially registered 50.4°C. However, he added that there are a number of factors that have contributed to the difference, believed to be around plus or minus 6°C in Qatar.

“People record the temperatures in a car, but there are so many factors which affect this, such as heat radiated from asphalt, heat from the exhausts of other cars and even the heat generated by the car itself. We make our measurements in a very controlled environment which is extremely reliable,” he was quoted by the Qatari daily Gulf Times as saying.

Al Mannai rejects claims that Qatar's humidity is also higher than in the previous years.

"Although it may feel more humid this summer, this is down to other factors such as wind and water vapour," he explained. "Humidity in Qatar is less oppressive than in other countries in the region and the atmosphere here is more comfortable than elsewhere."

The changeover from summer to autumn, he says, is likely occur on September 21, and although temperature changes will not be immediately noticeable, he predicts that by October, the average temperature will have dropped by four to six degrees.

The forecaster also said rain levels would remain the same as last year.