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 TomballTXPride:
I hope this doesn't effect our climate. These things have been known to put more CO2 in the atmosphere than anything else...
Well, anything else but us humans, perhaps. Did you know it would take the equivalent of a Mt. Pinatubo-sized eruption every 12 hours every day of the year to pump as much CO2 into the air as we humans do annually? And the ongoing event in Guatemala is nowhere near the size of even a single Pinatubo.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Keep. Season runs through the end of November.


by the calendar
but in actually tropical cyclones
can form any time during a full year
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54391
Quoting TomballTXPride:
I hope this doesn't affect our climate. These things have been known to put massive, enormous amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere in a matter of weeks...

Nice Try.

The climate record is very clear. Large volcanic eruptions in the tropics result in temporary cooling of the climate for around 1-3 years by injecting S02 aerosols into the stratosphere.



Sources:
NASA - Atmospheric Aerosols:
What Are They, and Why Are They So Important?


Stratospheric sulfur aerosols
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Quoting Unfriendly:
anyone got a page of animated sat imagery of sanba?
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Quoting MTWX:


That was Isaac...

Yep, it said so.
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Quoting ncstorm:
whats the Brazilian model?

Joe Bastardi
Brazilian model seeing something wild on the east coast 1st weekend of October. Check out NYC meteogram




Bastardi is nuts. I respect the knowledge he has and he is certainly a well qualified forecaster but he's still insane. I mean the "Brazilian model" showing something almost a month out? Does he seriously think that has any chance of happening?
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
The big, big picture.

sip

ahhh...



Beautiful!
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anyone got a page of animated sat imagery of sanba?
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GFS has a strong wave taunting us and never reaching PR?153,228hours
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487. JLPR2
Nadine is almost out of view from this image and coming into view is the CATL wave.



I have a feeling it will try something. But my gut feelings have a tendency to fail. XD
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Brazilian models are always wild. Gotta luv that.


honey boo boo please...
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15676
Quoting TomballTXPride:
I hope this doesn't effect our climate. These things have been known to put more CO2 in the atmosphere than anything else...


That looks serious.
Is that the Guatemala eruption where they have evacuated more than 30,000 people?
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whats the Brazilian model?

Joe Bastardi
Brazilian model seeing something wild on the east coast 1st weekend of October. Check out NYC meteogram



Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15676
Poor Kristy could only make it to 50mph before shear really got to it, center fully exposed.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7948
Burst of convection over Nadine, could it be enough we will now at 11pm.


Sanba is still looking really good.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7948
RIP Kristy.



The shear has been brutal out there ever since the big burst of storms early in the year.
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474. JLPR2
Kristy is having some problems.

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473. MTWX
Quoting pottery:

That's from the 25th day of the month... August I am sure.

:):))


That was Isaac...
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Latest Sanba microwave:



It remains a beautiful storm:



However it's possible it has peaked as T numbers have come down a bit and satellite appearance is slightly less impressive.
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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 PM PDT THU SEP 13 2012

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
STORM KRISTY...LOCATED ABOUT 65 MILES NORTHEAST OF SOCORRO ISLAND
MEXICO.

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAVE BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED IN
ASSOCIATION WITH AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE CENTERED ABOUT 750 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. ENVIRONMENTAL
CONDITIONS COULD BECOME MORE CONDUCIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT DURING THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...40
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS
AS IT MOVES GENERALLY WESTWARD AT 5 TO 10 MPH.

AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE ACCOMPANIED BY CLOUDINESS AND
THUNDERSTORMS IS CENTERED ABOUT 1650 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE
SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. THIS LOW IS MOVING SLOWLY WEST-
NORTHWESTWARD AND HAS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Did we not just go over this in the other chat? :P

I missed chat, gah.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7948
Quoting yqt1001:


Being from that area I don't believe it either.

Not since our day time high averages at about 20C this time of year.

Did we not just go over this in the other chat? :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Wow, if this is right some areas in Canada have about a foot of snow on the way... I have a hard time believing that though...



Being from that area I don't believe it either.

Not since our day time high averages at about 20C this time of year.
Member Since: November 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 1286


A TROPICAL WAVE AXIS IS ANALYZED FROM 15N43W ALONG A 1012 MB LOW
LEVEL CENTER NEAR 10N41W TO 7N38W MOVING W 10-15 KT. THIS SYSTEM
IS EMBEDDED IN A SURGE OF MODERATE MOISTURE VALUES ON TOTAL
PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGERY. THIS SYSTEM IS ALSO EMBEDDED IN DRY
SAHARAN AIR ALOFT LIMITING THE CONVECTIVE ACTIVITY NEAR THE
CENTER. ONLY A SMALL AREA OF SCATTERED WEAK CONVECTION IS N OF
THE LOW LEVEL CENTER FROM 11N-15N BETWEEN 40W-45W.
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Wow, if this is right some areas in Canada have about a foot of snow on the way... I have a hard time believing that though...

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Quoting Dakster:
So I Wiki'd the height of the stratosphere and so far, I am going to say no, it didn't reach it. It starts 6 miles up...

However, it still could reach the stratosphere.


The height of the Tropopause varies across different latitudes/seasons.
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Ok thx!:)

Welcome!
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91E is now up to 40%
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Must be some big fuel tanks on that one. Lol.

Or they found some really strong updrafts.
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is there a map like that one for the Wpac to see the pressure of that giant monster?
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Ok thx!:)
Quoting pottery:

That's from the 25th day of the month... August I am sure.

:):))
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Quoting pottery:


You think they're still out there ?

Must be some big fuel tanks on that one. Lol.
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the 18z Nogaps..last frame at 180 hour-remember the Nogaps outperform the models on genesis of Ernesto
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15676
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
No but why are they out there??

That's from the 25th day of the month... August I am sure.

:):))
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No but why are they out there??
Quoting pottery:


You think they're still out there ?
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
What are the HH doing???
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 25th day of the month at 23:23Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 303)
Storm Number & Year: 09L in 2012
Storm Name: Isaac (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 16
Observation Number: 16
A. Time of Center Fix: 25th day of the month at 23:09:40Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 21�44'N 76�31'W (21.7333N 76.5167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 93 miles (150 km) to the ENE (75�) from Camag�ey, Cuba.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,403m (4,603ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 56kts (~ 64.4mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 43 nautical miles (49 statute miles) to the ENE/E (79�) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 141� at 46kts (From the SE at ~ 52.9mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 41 nautical miles (47 statute miles) to the E (80�) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 997mb (29.44 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 15�C (59�F) at a pressure alt. of 1,523m (4,997ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 21�C (70�F) at a pressure alt. of 1,528m (5,013ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 16�C (61�F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1.5 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 46kts (~ 52.9mph) in the east quadrant at 22:56:30Z


You think they're still out there ?
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What are the HH doing???
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 25th day of the month at 23:23Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 303)
Storm Number & Year: 09L in 2012
Storm Name: Isaac (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 16
Observation Number: 16
A. Time of Center Fix: 25th day of the month at 23:09:40Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 2144'N 7631'W (21.7333N 76.5167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 93 miles (150 km) to the ENE (75) from Camagey, Cuba.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,403m (4,603ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 56kts (~ 64.4mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 43 nautical miles (49 statute miles) to the ENE/E (79) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 141 at 46kts (From the SE at ~ 52.9mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 41 nautical miles (47 statute miles) to the E (80) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 997mb (29.44 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 15C (59F) at a pressure alt. of 1,523m (4,997ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 21C (70F) at a pressure alt. of 1,528m (5,013ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 16C (61F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1.5 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 46kts (~ 52.9mph) in the east quadrant at 22:56:30Z
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18Z GFS 384HR
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Quoting Neapolitan:
What's going on? We have:

-Nadine trying to become a hurricane;

-Pouch 27L moving slowly westward with very little model support for development;

-And Pouch 28L just coming off of Africa with a little more model support than 27L, though not much more.

Africa

Meanwhile back over the continent, the train is slowing down but looks to have a few possible surprises left:

Africa


pretty much sums it up in a nutshell
though i would add expect activity to pick up
near end of month with some last minute come from behind shots

and thats all folks we will be done
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54391

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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.

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