The new hottest place on Earth: Death Valley, California

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

Share this Blog
49
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 447 - 397

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31Blog Index

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: 163 Comments: 52257
New invest 91E in EPAC.

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_ep912012.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201209132307
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, EP, E, , , , , 91, 2012, DB, O, 2012091318, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , EP912012
EP, 91, 2012091300, , BEST, 0, 161N, 1139W, 25, 1009, DB,
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13288
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
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13268
hurricane season looks to be well above average..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Just to confirm Sanba's Category 5 intensity.

13/2032 UTC 17.7N 129.7E T7.0/7.0 SANBA -- West Pacific
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Quoting TomTaylor:
The height of the stratosphere varies with latitude, season, and even the weather on a given day. Given that it is the summer and Guatemala is in the tropics the stratosphere is likely much higher up. The best way to determine the height of the stratosphere for a given time and place is using atmospheric soundings. Unfortunate, there are no soundings out of Guatemala, but a nearby sounding out of Belieze shows the stratosphere is likely around 16km, or 10mi, up (based off where the temperature begins to get warm again.



THANKS for the lesson... I appreciate it.

The eruption definitely did NOT reach the stratosphere then.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Try the central Atlantic at the NHC. Look at Canefever click on At A Glance look at the various maps vort, conv. divergence, steering maps etc.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The GFS has latched onto the idea of homegrown tropical development in the northwest Caribbean around September 29. Something to watch in the long range as the pattern definitely favors it.
September has been a month with low tropical activity we have had only two named storms this month Michael and Nadine.I thought at first that this month could end with 6 storms now I am thinking 4 or 5 for September.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 3703
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Quoting hydrus:
could it have a yellow circle later on?
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 3703
Quoting gordydunnot:
Satellite still shows some development of the wave around 10N, 40W. This might be the one to slip under the radar so to speak.Bring some rain to the Antilles, hope no serious consequences.
What satellite?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The GFS has latched onto the idea of homegrown tropical development in the northwest Caribbean around September 29. Something to watch in the long range as the pattern definitely favors it.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Some Caribbean action towards the end of the 18z GFS run:





Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7295
I've hiked up this volcano. You catch a cab from Antigua up to a small (but not tiny) village at the base of the volcano which sits at about 8000 feet. I believe the total gain is about 4000' to the top from there. Most hikers camp near the top but you can make it up and down in one day if you're in shape, but you have to hustle. There are people living and farming up to about 1000' from the village. After that it thins out but there are still a few small huts up to about 10,000' and some activity right up to about 1000' below the volcano, as the path can still support burros, and the locals go up to collect wood. The last 1000' or so is a rocky climb. So there is generally some activity even near the top with the occasional hiker or local. Thus, I would be surprised if there aren't some fatalities from such an eruption.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchaser19:
Beautiful!!!!!!!!Nice eye
Looks like a perfect circle. Glad my flat is far away from it..:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

wave at 10n 43w.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The sun has risen on the beast known as Sanba.



I pay for be there and feel the power of the mother nature :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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 stratosphere varies with latitude, season, and even the weather on a given day. Given that it is the summer and Guatemala is in the tropics the stratosphere is likely much higher up. The best way to determine the height of the stratosphere for a given time and place is using atmospheric soundings. Unfortunate, there are no soundings out of Guatemala, but a nearby sounding out of Belieze shows the stratosphere is likely around 16km, or 10mi, up (based off where the temperature begins to get warm again.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
420. VR46L
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Psst...

One is a strong tropical storm, the other is a Category 5. There may just be a slight difference in intensity there...


LOL true but Nadine will never look like that
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Its morning were Sanba is now with visible satellite pictures showing and she looks perfect.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks stormy out there for some folks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Satellite still shows some development of the wave around 10N, 40W. This might be the one to slip under the radar so to speak.Bring some rain to the Antilles, hope no serious consequences.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The sun has risen on the beast known as Sanba.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Good morning beautiful



Wow.
Member Since: November 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 1285
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Psst...

One is a strong tropical storm, the other is a Category 5. There may just be a slight difference in intensity there...

Just by a little, Nadine is looking good for a strong TS and Sanba is looking good for a cat5.
There also is still Kristy in the epac, but it's center is partly exposed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VR46L:
Compared to Sanba..


Psst...

One is a strong tropical storm, the other is a Category 5. There may just be a slight difference in intensity there...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Beautiful!!!!!!!!Nice eye
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700



full northern hemispheric ir anim image
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Quoting weatherbro:
was this eruption strong enough to reach the Stratosphere?


How far up is the stratosphere? It sent ash 2 miles up... That is maybe at 22k-23k feet up since the top of the Volcano is 12k feet in elevation already.

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700
Quoting VR46L:
Compared to Sanba..

Dat round eye.

Most intense storm of this year, thus far.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
407. VR46L
Compared to Sanba..

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
406. VR46L
Not really impressed with Nadine

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrMixon:
There are more photos of the active eruption of Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego here:

MASHABLE LINK



I'm VERY tempted to add the Ron Burgundy "That escalated quickly" meme, but I'll spare y'all the bandwidth. :)

Geez, that reminds me of the pictures of when Mount St. Helens blew up... Hopefully there won't be any major far reaching effects.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7295
There are more photos of the active eruption of Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego here:

MASHABLE LINK



I'm VERY tempted to add the Ron Burgundy "That escalated quickly" meme, but I'll spare y'all the bandwidth. :)

Hopefully the prompt evacuation of 33,000 people means no one will be injured or killed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
STY 17W HAS RAPIDLY INTENSIFIED
OVER THE PAST 24 HOURS WITH A 70 KNOT INCREASE IN INTENSITY

Does that qualify as explosive deepening?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7295
was this eruption strong enough to reach the Stratosphere?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:

To me Monica is a curious case for a couple of reasons. Like you said, Monica may have achieved annular status, but if she did, it was quite brief. Also, the relatively small eye would be quite unusual for an annular cyclone.

With that being said, it is undeniable that Monica did have a sharp drop-off in banding for a period of time. During that same time period, Monica strengthened from an intense 125 kt tropical cyclone to a 155 kt beast, as well as becoming one of very few tropical cyclones to achieve an 8.0 when using the Dvorak T#s.





Yeah the fact that it reached 8.0 is amazing, basically a perfect satellite presentation. Some people even say that it may have been the most intense tropical storm ever observed based off CIMSS ADT estimates, but a few things make me doubt this. For one, ADT tends to be more aggressive of the other Dvorak techniques. The other thing was compared to Tip or even Wilma, the eye of Monica was fairly large. For that reason the 200mph estimated Dvorak winds seem overdone. 180 by the JTWC seems reasonable, or perhaps 185 MPH. Anyway, definitely one of the most intense cyclones ever observed, though I think the Dvorak estimates were a little overdone. Also, pressure likely wasn't 869 either as the Dvorak estimates showed, though likely sub 880, as JTWC shows. I'd put the storm around 185MPH 1-min sustained and 875mb minimum.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
One of the 12z GFS ENSEMBLE 384HR
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
It is 85 in WPB!!:)


You finally got that cold front. Awesome. Can you send it down south a little further please.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9700
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257

Viewing: 447 - 397

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31Blog Index

Top of Page

About JeffMasters

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