The new hottest place on Earth: Death Valley, California

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:18 PM GMT on September 13, 2012

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As any weather aficionado can avow, Earth's most iconic weather record has long been the legendary all-time hottest temperature of 58°C (136.4°F) measured 90 years ago today at El Azizia, Libya on September 13, 1922. One hundred thirty six degrees! It's difficult to comprehend that heat like that could exist on our planet. For 90 years, no place on Earth has come close to beating the unbelievable 136 degree reading from Al Azizia, and for good reason--the record is simply not believable. But Earth's mightiest weather record has been officially cast down. Today, the official arbiter of Earth's weather records, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), announced that the all-time heat record held for exactly 90 years by El Azizia in Libya "is invalid because of an error in recording the temperature." The WMO committee found five major problems with the measurement. Most seriously, the temperature was measured in a paved courtyard over a black, asphalt-like material by a new and inexperienced observer, not trained in the use of an unsuitable replacement instrument that could be easily misread. The observer improperly recorded the observation, which was consequently in error by about 7°C (12.6°F.) The new official highest hottest place on the planet is now Death Valley, California. A remarkable high temperature of 56.7°C (134°F) was measured there on 10 July 1913, at Greenland Ranch.


Figure 1. The trading post at Al Azizia, Libya in 1923. The photo was taken from the Italian military fort located on a small hill just south of the trading post. It was at this fort that the temperature of 58°C (136.4°F) was observed on Sept. 13, 1922 (used with permission from the family of Gen. Enrico Pezzi).

The story behind the overturning of Earth's most hallowed weather record
Today's announcement is the culmination of a 3-year research effort begun by wunderground weather historian, Christopher C. Burt. His blog post today, World Heat Record Overturned--A Personal Account, provides a fascinating detective story on how the record came to be cast down--and how the Libyan revolution of 2012 almost prevented this from happening.


Figure 2. The new official hottest place on the planet: Death Valley, California. Wide open spaces, infinite views, intensely salty water, mind-boggling heat. What's not to love about this place? Image credit: Wunderphotographer SonomaCountyRAF.

Dead Heat: The Video
Don't miss the 25-minute wunderground video, Dead Heat, a detective story on how the El Azizia record was overturned.

Atlantic tropical update
Tropical Storm Nadine is recurving to the northwest and north well east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, on a track that would likely keep this storm far out at sea away from any land areas. However, Nadine may eventually threaten the Azores Islands or Newfoundland; the models are divided on how the steering currents will evolve next week, and we cannot be sure which way Nadine will go during the middle of next week.

The models predict that a trough of low pressure off the U.S. East Coast may serve as the focus for development of a non-tropical low pressure system on Sunday or Monday, but this low will likely form too far to the north to become a tropical storm. The GFS model has been predicting a tropical wave coming off the coast of Africa may develop next week, but has not been consistent with the timing or location of the development.

In the Western Pacific, Super Typhoon Sanba is an impressive top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, and is headed north-northwest towards a possible landfall in Korea early next week.

Given the importance of the new world record all-time high temperature, I'll leave this post up until Saturday afternoon, when I'll post an update on the tropics.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting LargoFl:
looks like that gulf blob has our name on it Gro..well around me we could use a lil rain


Looks like it's moving back east a little.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Quoting LargoFl:

Outflows are setting up, convective temps (mid 80s) are being reached, moisture is rich... anyone want to guess what happens next?
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Quoting RetiredChiefP:


Well spoken. As an Infantry soldier for 10 1/2 years (1985-1995), who experienced war first-hand in Iraq back in 1991, I pray for peace daily.



Thank you for your service.

This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis
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Quoting Grothar:
looks like that gulf blob has our name on it Gro..well around me we could use a lil rain
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992. txjac
Quoting washingtonian115:
I want to talk about tropics..



but I have no one to discuss it with..


Throw something out there wash ...surely someone will respond
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Have a great evening everyone! I am jumping on my Harley and driving from Houston to College Station so I can watch my baby girl Geoscientist receive her Aggie Ring! The weather calls for a 40% chance of rain. This means that I have a 60% chance of staying dry and a 40% chance of singing in the rain as I drive!

I look forward to catching up in a few hours.

Behave, be civil, and be smart!
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I want to talk about tropics..



but I have no one to discuss it with..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16366
Quoting MNhockeymama:
,

I wonder about that around here, too, sometimes. LOL This blog is interesting because it seems that most who post are intelligent & informed - especially re weather :D - and are able to have an intelligent discussion on a variety of topics. Quite a nice change from some of my Twitter experiences w/random Tweeters who didn't appreciate my views.


I agree. Best blog I've ever been on. There are times when I don't agree with someone but I read their post and say to myself...."hmmmm.... there's a case being made let me rethink this".
If anything this blog makes you think.
Yeah there's nonsense at times but I will take a little nonsense with the amount of knowledge that is displayed. And you know if there wasn't a little but of nonsense and upheaval it wouldn't be as much fun.
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Quoting txjac:


It was so disheartening to see the black flag flying over our embassy in Tunisia.

Does anyone really think that this is over the film?

In my opinion the film was an excuse, this was planned and planned for the anniversary of 9/11.

It just makes me ill


I agree; there have been reports that at least one of the attacks was planned well before (and questions about whether the US had info prior to the attacks that there was a threat) - the film just gave them the reason. So much for the Arab Spring bringing democracy & peace. :(
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Quoting Grothar:


The dance is the Samba.
I'm still learning the twist and the Harlem Shuffle
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984. txjac
Quoting MNhockeymama:


We've had bomb threats credited to terrorist groups at both a TX University and UND today, the UND one resulted in evacuating the university.


Texas evacuated too ...crazy. I was sitting here at work, heard about the bomb threats and knew that my daughter was on her way to school at U of H ...made me worry/wonder if more school would receive threats
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Quoting MNhockeymama:


We've had bomb threats credited to terrorist groups at both a TX University and UND today, the UND one resulted in evacuating the university.
wow, copy cats you think?
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Quoting thunderbug91:
let's all take a moment to stop and pray for those being attacked in the Mediterranean embassies. And pray that the violence doesn't reach our shores.


Well spoken. As an Infantry soldier for 10 1/2 years (1985-1995), who experienced war first-hand in Iraq back in 1991, I pray for peace daily.

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Quoting 1441114:
Hi . Well I guess the powder keg in the Middle East , the bomb threats to our colleges , and b.s. between Obama and Romney , and all the blobs , Nadine , and the on air heart attack of Jerry The King Lawler last monday nite , I guess December 21, is COMING to get us all. Mankind what a bunch of idiots we all are to let get to this , I love this planet , and my life, I wonder if all of you do too. Its time to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror , and hope we like what we see in it . And the lying media they can all go straight to hell , and poor Princess Kate , I hope she takes them to the cleaners on the royals lawsuit. Go Tampa on Sunday beat New York.
Oh my.........That had to take many many minutes thinking and re-thinking about that post.... But hey, I think we all know about all of that, And you didn't even mention the Ohio State Buckeyes
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Quoting txjac:


Looking forward to the rains coming this way Largo!
However yesterday's rain made my commute home take one hour and forty five minutes instead of the usualy 20!
yeah you folks have been really dry huh..saw a special weather alert this morning, some places in texas might get 3-5 inches of rain..that should help in those area's
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Quoting LargoFl:
guess they have to be cautious now, probably alerts all over the place for safety sake


We've had bomb threats credited to terrorist groups at both a TX University and UND today, the UND one resulted in evacuating the university.
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Quoting txjac:


It was so disheartening to see the black flag flying over our embassy in Tunisia.

Does anyone really think that this is over the film?

In my opinion the film was an excuse, this was planned and planned for the anniversary of 9/11.

It just makes me ill

Still proud to be an American!!!
God bless the USA
EDIT: Yes, I think the film was an excuse. I hope we can crush the attacks before they get any worse...
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977. txjac
Quoting LargoFl:


Looking forward to the rains coming this way Largo!
However yesterday's rain made my commute home take one hour and forty five minutes instead of the usualy 20!
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
It's Sanba, The dance is Somba..But you were close


The dance is the Samba.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Quoting thunderbug91:

If I understood it correctly, the FBI is issuing alerts for possible homeland violence as well?
guess they have to be cautious now, probably alerts all over the place for safety sake
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973. txjac
Quoting thunderbug91:

May those responsible meet due justice to the fullest extent


It was so disheartening to see the black flag flying over our embassy in Tunisia.

Does anyone really think that this is over the film?

In my opinion the film was an excuse, this was planned and planned for the anniversary of 9/11.

It just makes me ill
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MNhockeymama:


IMO Samba is one of the most difficult dances ever.

Some would agree that pop control is happening through the birth control women take and then the bc gets into the water supply - as an explanation for men having less fertility than in the past. Seems like every year I know more and more people doing fertility treatments - desperate to have kids, but who can't for reasons that doctors can't seem to explain.


I am not an expert, nor am I a scientist (opening qualifier...lol). However, working in the water/wastewater industry, I find it hard to believe that women taking BC, then voiding, would return BC to our public water system. Wastewater treatment is a comprehensive process that takes raw waste and processes it (aerobically, in most cases), then treats the remaining effluent either chemically or through UV radiation before discharging it back into our watershed, thus destroying most (if not all) impurities.

Maybe the increase in infertility is due to evolution (stop please...not wanting to start a global war on evolution vs. Creation...lol), and the human species naturally slowing down the fertility rate due to overpopulation of our great Earth?

Just a few thoughts from a college dropout, owns-his-own business, retired fireman kind of guy.

Peace out...Chief P
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Quoting LargoFl:
stay safe over there

If I understood it correctly, the FBI is issuing alerts for possible homeland violence as well?
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Quoting kellnerp:
I'm supposed to be flying into Korea on the 17th. Should be interesting.
stay safe over there
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Quoting LargoFl:
yes, prayers for those fallen souls

May those responsible meet due justice to the fullest extent
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Quoting 954FtLCane:

Thanks for the insight of where you come from. Gotcha.

You'd wonder about the people and how smart they are if you lived down here...lol

,

I wonder about that around here, too, sometimes. LOL This blog is interesting because it seems that most who post are intelligent & informed - especially re weather :D - and are able to have an intelligent discussion on a variety of topics. Quite a nice change from some of my Twitter experiences w/random Tweeters who didn't appreciate my views.
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Quoting thunderbug91:
let's all take a moment to stop and pray for those being attacked in the Mediterranean embassies. And pray that the violence doesn't reach our shores.
yes, prayers for those fallen souls
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Quoting clamshell:


Check this out.

Just went on Google and found out that the average motorcycle gets around 60 MPG.

Pretty darn good isn't it?

Hmmm. Not really.

Lets take a family of six, all of legal age and put them on motorcycles instead. Send them on a sixty mile round trip visit to the beach.

Six people on six motorcycles used up six gallons of gasoline getting there and back.

Now send those same six people to the beach in one of those horrible SUV's getting 20 MPG. Six people in one SUV used three gallons of gasoline there and back. And that is assuming an SUV getting 20 MPG as opposed to a more realistic 27 MPG.

It looks like the SUV, used responsibly, is very, very efficient in the world of fuel economy.

What we might want to do is strive to be more responsible in our daily lives and what we do and where we go and how we go about it all.




I bought a Harley two years ago (42 MPG) as a luxury. Loved it so much, I parked my pickup truck (18 MPG) and now use the Harley as my work vehicle. Much more fun and have only a small bag of tools that I really use (along with my laptop).

I only have one child...seemed pointless to have another after knowing myself for over 45 years ;-).

I don't use disposable cups...have a stainless steel cup for my coffee and cold beverages. I refill my plastic water bottle because it has a pop-top style lid. So I guess I promote sustainability and a smaller carbon footprint. My daughter is studying for her degree as an Environmental Geoscientist, and she has helped me decrease my adverse impact on the environment.

My choices are not because of my political leanings, but rather economic and environmental choices. I will not let you know my opinions (rule to happy life: no discussion of politics or religion amongst friends). I will only state facts about how I try to do my small part to preserve what we have for my child and her children...ad infinitum.

Thank you for your analogy on the 6 people on motorcycles vs. 6 in an SUV. Responsible use is a great way to put it.
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Quoting MNhockeymama:


My girls would love that. But horses do, uh, release a lot of methane, so that might also be seen as a problem to some.


how many horses are we talking about?
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I think. Once the N storm. Gets out of the. Way hurricane. Seasone May be coming to a end



But will see
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Don't worry, Jor-El, Krypton is just shifting its orbit. Nothing to worry about. It has happened before many times. We are safe.
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961. ARiot
With any luck, I'll hang on four more decades. It's going to be one hell of a ride.

We're in a car going 392 mph at a concrete wall.

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Quoting MNhockeymama:


You're right about Pelosi - sorry, that was a stretch... kind of like her face...bwahaha...that one was just too easy.

True about supply and demand, but the issue is also when the government oversteps & tries to manipulate the supply/demand through regulation/requirements/policies, etc. I appreciate the fact that we have cleaner water/air than we did 30-50 years ago; I don't appreciate the new regulations that are very close to trampling on States'/Personal Property Rights & Freedoms. It is in our best interest to be cognizant of how we are treating our world, but I'm more of a conservationist (as defined: "Conservation, the wise use of natural renewable resources, that man, due to his ability to reason, have the power and right to improve, change and utilize the environment") than an environmentalist ("somebody working to protect the environment: somebody involved in issues relating to the protection of the natural world, especially a member of a political group campaigning against the perceived harmful effects of industrialized societies") - I'm from a family of farmers (my dad current lives on the farm that has been in our family since 1850 & grows organic corn/wheat/hops/barley), so I understand that we need to care for our land, etc. But I'm also a conservative libertarian, so I'd really like the government to stay out of my business & respect that people aren't as dumb as some of our "leaders" seem to believe we are.

Thanks for the insight of where you come from. Gotcha.

You'd wonder about the people and how smart they are if you lived down here...lol

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let's all take a moment to stop and pray for those being attacked in the Mediterranean embassies. And pray that the violence doesn't reach our shores.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
We can always go back to horse and buggy....

No, bad idea. I had a really funny stat prof. One of our exercises was to calculate the growth in population from 1800 to 1880, along with the corollary growth in horses. We then used linear regression to test what would happen if the horse population continued to grow at the same rate as the population did through 1980. Our conclusion was the entire country would be buried three feet deep in horse manure. :) As long as it's just the Amish, we'll be OK with the horse and buggy.
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CSU forecast below normal activity in Atlantic for next two weeks.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13992
Quoting 954FtLCane:


It was touched on in post 887, how we're getting closer here in the US (pop slowdown). However, that is a good question. Probably even deserves it's on blog. It's there, we know it, but as you mentioned we'll be hard pressed to do so. Of course we can always start on conspiracy theories and I'm sure that'll point a finger to how it is already happening....but lawdie that's as far as I'm going.....

How bout that Samba (isn't that a dance)


IMO Samba is one of the most difficult dances ever.

Some would agree that pop control is happening through the birth control women take and then the bc gets into the water supply - as an explanation for men having less fertility than in the past. Seems like every year I know more and more people doing fertility treatments - desperate to have kids, but who can't for reasons that doctors can't seem to explain.
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Quoting SouthTampa:
My stepfather is 6'7" and he's been driving a Camry since the early 90s. I have a Tacoma and he doesn't fit as well into my truck.

Also, I had an Audi RS6, which is one of those cars that can easily top 160. It was a heck of a ride at the track. Surprisingly it got 26 mpg hwy.


I'm 6'3" and I too drive a Camry although I'd be more comfortable in a Bentley :)
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Quoting JustSouthofEquator:
I suppose the steps that can be currently taken without rufflin anyone's feathers are fuel economy and energy efficiency.


There used to be a saying...

'Are you working hard or are you working smart?'

Energy efficiency is 'working smart' and that takes the prize every time.




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Quoting Neapolitan:
(I was away at lunch; hope this response isn't too late.)

No debate, no argument; just a polite response to your polite comment.

The five largest oil companies alone make about $100 billion in profit--not revenue, mind you, but profit--per year. That's $270 million profit each day. $11.4 million profit each hour. $190,000 proft each minute. Nearly $3,200 profit each second, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year. And, again, that's just the five largest oil companies--and there are lots of oil companies. Lots of coal companies, too. And every single one of those companies has but a single reason for existing: making as much money as humanly possible, however possible. That's fine; that's free enterprise. But since their products have the unfortunate side effect of producing mass quantities of CO2 gas--40 trillion liters a day!--don't you think it's just possible that they have a vested interest in minimizing and covering up the truth about what that gas is doing to the environment? Don't you think it's just possible that the oft-heard denialist claim that climate scientists are in it for the money is just a wee bit of projection on the part of the fossil fuel industry?

When you get a chance, try this practical experiment. Take a look at Forbes magazine's 2012 list of the world's richest people. Then make a list of those names that are on the list because of their involvement with oil and/or coal (and be sure to include those with investments in those industries). Then go back down the list and write down the names of those who are on the list because of their involvement in the climate sciences. Then please let us know what you find...

Mitigating climate change is going to require political involvement on a massive scale. But climate science itself neither requires nor needs politics--nor does it want or need the input and advice of those whose only interest is in perpetuating the money-making abilities of the most massively profitable corporations in the most massively-profitable industry the world has ever known.


I did some calculating based on the assertion that 40 trillion Liters of CO2 are released by man-made sources per day. This would equal approximately 1,412,580,518,400 (trillion) cubic feet of pure CO2 gas or 9.5965 cubic miles per day.

According to one online source, the total volume of the earth's atmosphere is 3,947,000,000 cubic miles.

Based on this, man is contributing about 1/411,295,785th of the total volume of the earth's atmosphere in CO2 emissions each day. How trace of an amount this is over time and its significance, I have no idea.
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Catl wave is boring!!
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I suppose the steps that can be currently taken without ruffling anyone's feathers are fuel economy and energy efficiency. Not many would object about saving money.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
We can always go back to horse and buggy....


My girls would love that. But horses do, uh, release a lot of methane, so that might also be seen as a problem to some.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.