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: 397 - 347

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

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Guatemala Volcano Eruption
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Cool during-after compare-contrast video from Hurricane Irene 2011.
Irene during landfall and next day. Wow.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Any idea why they do this? I've noticed it a lot in past advisories. The NHC seems to have enough staff today to write the advisories themselves. Do you perhaps know more about this?


HPC is the backup to NHC, if something were to happen where NHC could not issue advisories, HPC would, so they practice their ability to do so.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Well after all this sunny weather a little rain wouldn't be bad.But forecasters think a washout is likely.


Well at least it'll be short lived.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Monica was a ridiculous storm. Winds of 180 mph at peak, and the Dorvak numbers had its pressure at 869 mb! (even though it likely wasn't that deep.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:
lol, Nadine's not going to become a Category 5, so all discussion pertaining to such is irrelevant.

...Where?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30242
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Nice to see HPC practicing their backup role:

TROPICAL STORM NADINE DISCUSSION NUMBER 10
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142012
ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
500 PM AST THU SEP 13 2012


Any idea why they do this? I've noticed it a lot in past advisories. The NHC seems to have enough staff today to write the advisories themselves. Do you perhaps know more about this?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The Raw T# changes like crazy. All I pay attention to is the blue line.
Yeah but they change in response to the satellite presentation. CI numbers will respond to the t#s eventually. As a result we can look at t#s to determine future trends in the estimated intensity (CI).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
lol, Nadine's not going to become a Category 5, so all discussion pertaining to such is irrelevant.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Huge volcano eruption in Guatemala

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:
CIMSS ADT estimates dropping ever so slightly, as I expected they might.


The Raw T# changes like crazy. All I pay attention to is the blue line.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30242
Quoting TomTaylor:
Does appear very near annular, but then again it is hard to tell for sure because it's only a partial pass and we can't see the other half of the storm. Monica did clearly posses banding prior to the landfall, however. Here's an image around 12hrs earlier

Quoting TomTaylor:
Looking through the entire archive it looks like Monica may have briefly attained annular characteristics on the 23rd of April around 9-10z. Here's a pass at 9z on the 23rd, and the image you posted at 10z on the 23rd also seems to show no evidence of banding. For a complete archive of imagery for Monica microwave imagery, I'd go here, click on SSMI or AMSU, and go from there.


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 beast to a 155 kt monster, as well as becoming one of very few tropical cyclones to achieve an 8.0 when using the Dvorak T#s.





Member Since: Posts: Comments:


finally.... current images

Nadine
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CATL wave could try to do something as it nears the Antilles imo
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5588
Hi all!

I've been a member on this site for a while now, but this is the first time I've commented. Love this site for tropical weather, especially discussions on future GFS outputs and predicted storm tracks.

Anyway, what are people's thoughts about Sanba curving and hitting Japan full on? The JTWC forecast keeps shifting eastward from what I've seen:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CIMSS ADT estimates dropping ever so slightly, as I expected they might.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Thanks to Calculus, I can't track Sanba... very impressive!


Ah, but coincidentally it is also thanks to calculus that the folks at the NHC can track Sanba. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nobody cares about the TWAVE at 42W lol? Some GFS members want to develop it.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5588
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Since we are already talking about what is annular and what is not, I have an interesting question for y'all. Would you say that the explosively deepening Monica from April 2006 was an annular cyclone?



Looking through the entire archive it looks like Monica may have briefly attained annular characteristics on the 23rd of April around 9-10z. Here's a pass at 9z on the 23rd, and the image you posted at 10z on the 23rd also seems to show no evidence of banding. Before and after this time period on the 23rd, evidence of banding is present. For a complete archive of imagery for Monica microwave imagery, I'd go here, click on SSMI or AMSU, and go from there.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yawn...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow Sanba 50 foot waves as a est, what height storm surge would that bring 25- 30 ft, at its current intensity?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Since we are already talking about what is annular and what is not, I have an interesting question for y'all. Would you say that the explosively deepening Monica from April 2006 was an annular cyclone?



Does appear very near annular, but then again it is hard to tell for sure because its not a complete pass. Monica did clearly posses banding prior to the landfall, however. Here's an image around 12hrs earlier

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sanba go away please..It seems that the Philippines not only gets hit by typhoons.They also form by them aww those poor people.I couldn't do it!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15706
Quoting yqt1001:
Well Sanba was, if not pretty close, to annular about 12 hours ago.



Though the banding developed not long ago.
Banding was already present even then. Here's a microwave pass two hours before that satellite image.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nice to see HPC practicing their backup role:

TROPICAL STORM NADINE DISCUSSION NUMBER 10
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142012
ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
500 PM AST THU SEP 13 2012
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ike was nasty.Haven't seen a real hurricane like that thankfully in a while.I know some people are going to bring up Isaac.But Isaac doesn't even hold a candle light to Ike(no that wasn't meant to rhyme).
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15706
By NBC News and wire services
A Guatemalan volcano erupting Thursday for the sixth time this year triggered evacuations of several towns, with more than 33,000 told to flee.

The Fuego volcano started spewing lava some 2,000 feet down two slopes, while ash was jettisoned 3,000 feet upwards. Ash was covering homes and buildings several miles away, the government's disaster agency said.

While Fuego had erupted five times earlier this year, one scientist in Guatemala said today's eruption was the biggest since 1999.
Seventeen towns with 33,000 people are in the evacuation zone, the country's emergency response director said.

The volcano sits just 6 miles southwest of Antigua, a colonial city popular with tourists. Antigua was not in the evacuation zone.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks to Calculus, I can't track Sanba... very impressive!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Wiebel:

Its hard to tell, is it man made, is it a natural cycle, is it both?


That is an important question. But, I'm a geologist, not a climate expert - and that is why I only provided a link to the data and didn't speculate. But, my rule is that when my own ignorance precludes drawing a conclusion it is generally the best practice to poll the experts for their conclusion(s).

Quoting Wiebel:
Don't forget we had a warm Viking period (Why is Greenland named Greenland?)


"The name Greenland comes from the early Scandinavian settlers. In the Icelandic sagas, it is said that Norwegian-born Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder. Along with extended family and thralls, he set out in ships to find a land rumored to lie to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Grœnland ("Greenland"), supposedly in the hope that the pleasant name would attract settlers." (Thanks, wikipedia!)

Quoting Wiebel:
And a cold period in the 1600 - 1800s. Why do you think all temperature rise statistics begin in this cold period? :).


Perhaps because the thermometer was invented in the early 1600s. :) (Thanks again, wikipedia!)

But also, many temperature rise stats (ice core records, etc.) don't begin in that period (your chart, for instance, starts before it). These longer records STILL clearly show a recent warming trend that, though it could be due to any number of reasons, is generally attributed to human activity according to most climate scientists, who have almost certainly (let's hope!) studied these longer temperature records.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4 years ago today

IKE



The only house left that day


Swept clean....vegetation and all


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TROPICAL STORM NADINE DISCUSSION NUMBER 10
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142012
ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
500 PM AST THU SEP 13 2012

NADINE CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN THE APPEARANCE OF A STRONG TROPICAL
STORM PER SATELLITE IMAGERY...AND THIS IS CONFIRMED BY DATA FROM A
RECENT SCATTEROMETER OVERPASS. ALTHOUGH THE CYCLONE EXHIBITS A
FAIRLY WELL DEFINED CENTRAL DENSE OVERCAST...NO EYE IS APPARENT IN
EITHER VISIBLE OR INFRARED IMAGERY. WATER VAPOR IMAGERY SUGGESTS
THAT VERTICAL SHEAR HAS NOT BECOME PROHIBITIVELY STRONG OVER THE
STORM. THE SHEAR HAS...HOWEVER...BEEN STRONG ENOUGH TO PREVENT
NADINE FROM STRENGTHENING TODAY. THE DYNAMICAL GUIDANCE DOES NOT
SHOW AS MUCH SHEAR DURING THE FORECAST PERIOD AS IN PREVIOUS
CYCLES. THIS LIKELY RESULTS FROM THE PREDICTION OF THE GLOBAL
MODELS THAT A TROUGH TO THE WEST OF NADINE WILL DE-AMPLIFY AND
PHASE WITH ANOTHER CYCLONE EXITING EASTERN CANADA. THIS WOULD
LEAVE THE TROPICAL CYCLONE SOUTH OF AN AMPLIFYING RIDGE...IN AN
ENVIRONMENT THAT COULD ALLOW FOR SOME RELAXATION OF THE SHEAR.
THEREFORE...NADINE MAY STILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO STRENGTHEN...AS
SUGGESTED BY THE OFFICIAL FORECAST. HOWEVER...IT SHOULD BE NOTED
THAT THE TIMING AND DURATION OF A POTENTIAL STRENGTHENING EPISODE
IS UNCERTAIN.


THE MOTION CONTINUES TO BEND TOWARD THE RIGHT...AND IS NOW NEAR
325/14. THE SYNOPTIC TRACK FORECAST REASONING IS BASICALLY
UNCHANGED FROM THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY...AND THE GFS AND ECMWF
FORECASTS HAVE COME INTO BETTER AGREEMENT DURING THE LATTER PART OF
THE FORECAST PERIOD. THE GFDL CONTINUES TO APPEAR AS A LEFT
OUTLIER...ALTHOUGH NOT AS FAR LEFT AS IN ITS PREVIOUS RUN. THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK HAS CHANGED VERY LITTLE...EXCEPT TO LOOP
JUST SLIGHTLY FARTHER WEST DURING THE FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS...BEFORE
RETURNING TO THE PREVIOUS NHC TRACK FOR DAYS 3-5. THIS FALLS
BETWEEN THE LATEST TVCN CONSENSUS AND THE GFS/ECMWF TRACKS.

THE SCATTEROMETER PASS SHOWED A MUCH LARGER TROPICAL CYCLONE THAN
PREVIOUSLY ANALYZED...ESPECIALLY OVER THE EASTERN SEMICIRCLE WHERE
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD AT LEAST 200 N MI. THIS
IS CONSISTENT WITH THE SATELLITE PRESENTATION IN WHICH NADINE IS
SEEN TO HAVE A LARGE AREA OF DEEP CONVECTION THAT EXTENDS WELL TO
THE EAST AND NORTHEAST OF THE CENTER.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 13/2100Z 24.0N 53.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
12H 14/0600Z 25.7N 54.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
24H 14/1800Z 28.0N 54.4W 60 KT 70 MPH
36H 15/0600Z 30.1N 53.8W 65 KT 75 MPH
48H 15/1800Z 31.3N 52.0W 65 KT 75 MPH
72H 16/1800Z 32.0N 47.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
96H 17/1800Z 33.0N 41.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
120H 18/1800Z 35.0N 34.0W 60 KT 70 MPH

$$
FORECASTER BURKE/PASCH
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30242
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Since we are already talking about what is annular and what is not, I have an interesting question for y'all. Would you say that the explosively deepening Monica from April 2006 was an annular cyclone?




Very obvious banding.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30242
12z CMC..interesting weather ahead..looks like the GFS ensembles I posted a while ago





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thrawst:


BLOB ALERT!!!


No Alert, just a blob.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23694
Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
SSide and PBW, I have said nothing to anger you. If i did, I didnt mean too.
I was implying that if Nadine became a Cat. 5 like Sanba, it would be the first ATL Cat 5 since 2007 and it would be a great storm to look at. Plus it would significantly increase our ACE total.

Not angry at all - but your comment did not come over like that to me - anyway - np as you have clarified
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SSide and PBW, I have said nothing to anger you. If i did, I didnt mean too.
I was implying that if Nadine became a Cat. 5 like Sanba, it would be the first ATL Cat 5 since 2007 and it would be a great storm to look at. Plus it would significantly increase our ACE total.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Since we are already talking about what is annular and what is not, I have an interesting question for y'all. Would you say that the explosively deepening Monica from April 2006 was an annular cyclone?



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:
JMA model..last frame..thats a lot of moisture on the eastern CONUS..
Well after all this sunny weather a little rain wouldn't be bad.But forecasters think a washout is likely.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15706
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM KRISTY ADVISORY NUMBER 6
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP112012
200 PM PDT THU SEP 13 2012

...CENTER OF KRISTY JUST TO THE NORTHEAST OF SOCORRO ISLAND...


SUMMARY OF 200 PM PDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...19.3N 110.2W
ABOUT 65 MI...100 KM NE OF SOCORRO ISLAND
ABOUT 250 MI...400 KM S OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 10 MPH...17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1002 MB...29.59 INCHES
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30242
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM NADINE ADVISORY NUMBER 10
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142012
ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
500 PM AST THU SEP 13 2012

...NADINE MOVING NORTHWESTWARD AND MAINTAINING 70 MPH WINDS...


SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...24.0N 53.0W
ABOUT 765 MI...1230 KM ENE OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 325 DEGREES AT 16 MPH...26 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...990 MB...29.23 INCHES
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30242
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
SSide...Can you believe his comments?

Nope
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
I wasn't insinuating that this is an annular cyclone right now, but that it is more than likely that it will become one within 12-24 hours.

Possibly. For now it looks like an EWRC will be occurring in the near future

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well Sanba was, if not pretty close, to annular about 12 hours ago.



Though the banding developed not long ago.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
I wasn't insinuating that this is an annular cyclone right now, but that it is more than likely that it will become one within 12-24 hours.


Fair enough, I can see what you are saying. I personally don't think she will go annular, but we shall find out soon enough. That is a very impressive CDO though, that's for sure.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Sanba is hideous compared to Isabel.Nuff said.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SSideBrac:

Hear hear!
SSide...Can you believe his comments?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:

I was just about to point out the same thing, there is far too much banding under there for it to be annular:



This is what an annular hurricane would look like under the hood:

I was trying to find that image of Isabel just now lol. But agreed, this is what an annular hurricane should look like

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Sorry I commented on your post...... You are obviously not a person I want to communicate with.Sorry

Hear hear!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
JMA model..last frame..thats a lot of moisture on the eastern CONUS..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Sorry I commented on your post...... You are obviously not a person I want to communicate with.Sorry

Whatever.
You act like what i said was bad.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 397 - 347

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.