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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597. MTWX
South Central TX getting some much needed rain!! Link
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Quoting Grothar:
GFS has this one nailed.

Good thing, it was aimed right at us...Good evening ancient one.
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Quoting Grothar:
FIM8 shows Nadine turning back west


That would be a really interesting track and possibly even a threat to the US if that happened.
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GFS has this one nailed.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
Quoting Gearsts:
What hurricane?

Meaning they will, Nadine is expected to be a hurricane when she gets to them.
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FIM8 shows Nadine turning back west

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369


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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Looks like the Azores have a hurricane on the way.
What hurricane?
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Looks like the Azores have a hurricane on the way.


It is still possible Nadine may turn back west.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
585. MTWX
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Bless you. ... Do you need a hanky?


Mt. Dew seriously just came out of my nose!!
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Bless you. ... Do you need a hanky?




LOL
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114720
Quoting Grothar:


Ausgezeichnet!
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Quoting popartpete:
Dr. Masters mentioned something about models showing some non tropical development off the East Coast. Can someone show me where this is/a model. Thanks!


Link
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Looks like the Azores have a hurricane on the way.
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I want some calimari.Well I'm out for the night.Hopefully Nadine pulls a surprise for us tomorrow.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16409
WTPN31 PGTW 140300
MSGID/GENADMIN/JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI//
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING//
RMKS/
1. SUPER TYPHOON 17W (SANBA) WARNING NR 014
01 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONE IN NORTHWESTPAC
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
WARNING POSITION:
140000Z --- NEAR 18.2N 129.7E
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 360 DEGREES AT 10 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 020 NM
POSITION BASED ON EYE FIXED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 150 KT, GUSTS 180 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 050 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
050 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
045 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
045 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 080 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
080 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
075 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
075 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 140 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
140 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
135 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
135 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
Quoting Grothar:


Ausgezeichnet!


Bless you. ... Do you need a hanky?
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Nadine
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Meanwhile, Nadine is still at 60 knots.

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Tropical Storm Kristy remains at 45 knots, as expected...this may be generous. It looks horrible, with the center of circulation exposed just to the west of that recent convective burst.

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northwestern semi circle of super tropical cyclone sanba shows signs of eroding occuring
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Count down until Sanba starts to fall apart into a ugly mess!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16409
Quoting weatherh98:


What's you're weltanshauung?

My English teacher taught me that today
Thought it was funny... Learning German in english


Ausgezeichnet!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
I wrote a blog! First time in a long time. Discussing a special topic (neither Sanba nor Nadine!) Feel free to check it out...
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Latest microwave pass (still a few hours old):

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I have a new blog on the 2012/13 Australian Bush Fire season. If anyone would like to check it out.
(old format)
(new format)
Feel free to have a read and leave a comment if you'd like.
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Quoting MTWX:


Not so sure... I'm thinking start of an EWRC... New bands are forming further away from the storm to the NW allowing the storm to get larger. May weaken some, but I believe she will pick up right where she left off in the morning (our time) and be quite a bit larger of a storm with a brand new eye!!

EWRC.....



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Quoting yqt1001:


Nanmandol was upgraded to 140kts in the post season as well.

I was going by JMA numbers, they have Nanmadol as a135kt Cat 4 Typhoon. On the SSHWS yes Nanmadol would be a Cat 5.
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Quoting wxchaser97:

Don't start to get all sarcastic or whatever since you have a hard test tomorrow. Sanba is still looking good with a low level cloud deck or not.


He may be showing signs of something called

Insanity.

We all knEw he was insane but now it's becoming quite obvious
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You're right, it's not cloud-filled. There is just a low-cloud deck in it. ;)

Don't start to get all sarcastic or whatever since you have a hard test tomorrow. Sanba is still looking good with a low level cloud deck or not.
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Quoting MTWX:


Not so sure... I'm thinking start of an EWRC... New bands are forming further away from the storm to the NW allowing the storm to get larger. May weaken some, but I believe she will pick up right where she left off in the morning (our time) and be quite a bit larger of a storm with a brand new eye!!


Ehhh I thought that at first but I'm not so sure now. Signs of EWRC would be more prevelant at this time
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Quoting yqt1001:


Cloud-filled? :P They eye is still clear. This isn't a weak major hurricane that can power down within an hour. It will still take a while for it to lose it's strong TC characteristics.


It's not gonna wind down quickly. I noticed it a few hours ago it's slowing gaining clouds in the center it's no doubt still a super typhoon and nothing to sneeze at
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559. MTWX
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The eye is slowly becoming cloud-filled and the deep convection around it is slowly fading. Sanba has peaked.



Not so sure... I'm thinking start of an EWRC... New bands are forming further away from the storm to the NW allowing the storm to get larger. May weaken some, but I believe she will pick up right where she left off in the morning (our time) and be quite a bit larger of a storm with a brand new eye!!
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Proper usage: If you stay on that blog another instant you will become a "vituperated blob".

One shouldn't rebuke a blob which occurs through no fault of its own.
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Quoting yqt1001:


Cloud-filled? :P They eye is still clear. This isn't a weak major hurricane that can power down within an hour. It will still take a while for it to lose it's strong TC characteristics.

You're right, it's not cloud-filled. There is just a low-cloud deck in it. ;)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

You haven't been looking very well. since 2010 there has been 4 Cat 5's.
2010 Super Typhoon Megi 155kts
2010 Hurricane Celia (EPAC)140kts
2011 Super Typhoon Songda 140kts
2011 Syper Typhoon Muifa 140kts
and now we have
2012 Syper Typhoon Sanba 150kts

Btw,,, it's Crickey.


Australians these days;)
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555. Skyepony (Mod)
Sanba Eye wall shrinking at the end of the 24hr MIMIC.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

You haven't been looking very well. since 2010 there has been 4 Cat 5's.
2010 Super Typhoon Megi 155kts
2010 Hurricane Celia (EPAC)140kts
2011 Super Typhoon Songda 140kts
2011 Syper Typhoon Muifa 140kts
and now we have
2012 Syper Typhoon Sanba 150kts

Btw,,, it's Crickey.


Nanmandol was upgraded to 140kts in the post season as well.
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't be so exegetic.


What's you're weltanshauung?

My English teacher taught me that today
Thought it was funny... Learning German in english
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Quoting wxchaser97:

It's still looking great, just not its perfect self anymore. So yeah its probably peaked but it is still strong.


Those who live in Okinawa have to prepare for a very strong typhoon moving very close to that island on Friday,even if it may not be as strong as it is now.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14009
Quoting TheHurricaneDundee:

Crocky that's a good looking storm. I started tracking hurricanes/cyclones in 2010 so this is the first cat 5 i've seen

You haven't been looking very well. since 2010 there has been 4 Cat 5's.
2010 Super Typhoon Megi 155kts
2010 Hurricane Celia (EPAC)140kts
2011 Super Typhoon Songda 140kts
2011 Syper Typhoon Muifa 140kts
and now we have
2012 Syper Typhoon Sanba 150kts

Btw,,, it's Crickey.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The eye is slowly becoming cloud-filled and the deep convection around it is slowly fading. Sanba has peaked.



Stop copying what I tell you over text
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The eye is slowly becoming cloud-filled and the deep convection around it is slowly fading. Sanba has peaked.


It's still looking great, just not its perfect self anymore. So yeah its probably peaked but it is still strong.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The eye is slowly becoming cloud-filled and the deep convection around it is slowly fading. Sanba has peaked.



Cloud-filled? :P They eye is still clear. This isn't a weak major hurricane that can power down within an hour. It will still take a while for it to lose it's strong TC characteristics.
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The eye is slowly becoming cloud-filled and the deep convection around it is slowly fading. Sanba has peaked.

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.