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: 197 - 147

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

Is it me, or are the Atlantic and Gomex satellite pix stuck at 13:15 GMT?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Nadine
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
Quoting 7544:


the blob lol


Grothar has not moved very slowly since he traded in the Flintmobile for this -

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Deep trough on the GFS..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22604
Quoting LargoFl:
FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
1257 PM EDT THU SEP 13 2012

FLC011-131930-
/O.CON.KMFL.FA.Y.0079.000000T0000Z-120913T1930Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
BROWARD FL-
1257 PM EDT THU SEP 13 2012

...THE URBAN FLOOD ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 330 PM EDT FOR
CENTRAL BROWARD COUNTY...

AT 1254 PM EDT...LAUDERDALE FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORTED URBAN TYPE
FLOODING ALONG COMMERCIAL BOULEVARD BETWEEN PINE ISLAND ROAD AND
UNIVERSITY AVENUE.

ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS TO NEAR ONE INCH ARE POSSIBLE IN THE
ADVISED AREA.

HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE PONDING OF WATER IN URBAN AREAS...
HIGHWAYS...STREETS AND UNDERPASSES AS WELL AS OTHER POOR DRAINAGE
AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS. RUNOFF WILL ALSO CAUSE ELEVATED LEVELS ON
SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
SAFELY.

LAT...LON 2621 8043 2620 8021 2608 8022 2613 8043

$$

60


Just got back from there. Flooding is terrible.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
Quoting calkevin77:


Totally agree. And on a sidenote I have two rescue cats. I let the wife round them up for annual checkups at the vet :)
Fun. I have three feral cats I had to trap to get neutered. That was fun as well. LOL I used to have house cats who were really in-door/out door. Anytime I mentioned vet the night before, they would disappear in the morning. They know!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
FLOOD STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
1012 AM EDT WED SEP 12 2012

...THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING RIVERS IN FLORIDA...
ST. MARKS RIVER NEAR NEWPORT ON OLD MAGNOLIA RD AFFECTING WAKULLA COUNTY

ALL PERSONS WITH INTEREST ALONG THE RIVER SHOULD MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS...
AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. DO
NOT DRIVE CARS THROUGH FLOODED AREAS. IF YOU SEE FLOOD WATERS...REMEMBER TO TURN
AROUND AND DO NOT DROWN.

FOR GRAPHICAL HYDROLOGIC INFORMATION...PLEASE GO TO WEATHER.GOV AND CLICK ON
YOUR STATE. SELECT RIVERS AND LAKES AHPS UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS AND CLICK ON
YOUR RIVER POINT.

&&
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42064
FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
1257 PM EDT THU SEP 13 2012

FLC011-131930-
/O.CON.KMFL.FA.Y.0079.000000T0000Z-120913T1930Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
BROWARD FL-
1257 PM EDT THU SEP 13 2012

...THE URBAN FLOOD ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 330 PM EDT FOR
CENTRAL BROWARD COUNTY...

AT 1254 PM EDT...LAUDERDALE FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORTED URBAN TYPE
FLOODING ALONG COMMERCIAL BOULEVARD BETWEEN PINE ISLAND ROAD AND
UNIVERSITY AVENUE.

ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS TO NEAR ONE INCH ARE POSSIBLE IN THE
ADVISED AREA.

HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE PONDING OF WATER IN URBAN AREAS...
HIGHWAYS...STREETS AND UNDERPASSES AS WELL AS OTHER POOR DRAINAGE
AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS. RUNOFF WILL ALSO CAUSE ELEVATED LEVELS ON
SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
SAFELY.

LAT...LON 2621 8043 2620 8021 2608 8022 2613 8043

$$

60
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42064
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42064
Quoting catastropheadjuster:
well today in history Hurricane Fredric Sept 13,1979 hit the gulf coast. Oh what a night. I was a teenager and scared to death.

sheri
There was a lot of hurricanes threatening land on this date: Gilbert, Ike, and Humberto to name a few a them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42064
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42064
184. 7544
Quoting Grothar:


Me or the blob?


the blob lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Super Typhoon Sanba has explosively intensified over the last day and is likely at or near her peak now. Be sure to check out the satellite images cause it really doesn't get much better than this. Dvorak estimates put her around a 170-180 MPH storm. Might see the eye clear out a little more and maybe a slightly cooler cloud tops as we approach dmax in the WPAC, but other than that, this storm shouldn't get much more than 5 knots stronger, per dvorak estimates (JTWC will likely lag behind the estimates, as usual). CIMSS ADT estimates reveal that the storm's intensity has leveled off.







Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 7544:


not going any where fast lol


Me or the blob?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
181. 7544
Quoting Grothar:
Blob.



not going any where fast lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
well today in history Hurricane Fredric Sept 13,1979 hit the gulf coast. Oh what a night. I was a teenager and scared to death.

sheri
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WOW:



Convection continues to deepen and there is now a ring <-80C cloud tops all the way around the eye.

Check out ADT estimates:

UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 13 SEP 2012 Time : 163000 UTC
Lat : 16:59:08 N Lon : 129:38:23 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
7.4 / 909.6mb/152.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
7.4 7.5 7.5

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 21 km

Center Temp : +19.9C Cloud Region Temp : -79.1C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Blob.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
post 146

Thanks, just read the entire thing. I did just about everything wrong! Now to go and fix it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


I must be getting old..... :)


LOL, aren't we all?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Landfall on the same day, 10 min apart and exactly one year apart.




Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Math is easy

Sciences are hard when you get up to more difficult stuff.


I only started to understand maths when I started seeing it in a scientific way. Before that, I just couldn't understand just why a or b was anything to do with math, and thus, just couldn't comprehend. My daughters cd-roms were better than any math teacher I had!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FtMyersgal:


Ops, did you mean Nadine?


I must be getting old..... :)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9757
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



ahhh, that delicious coolness... so close yet, sooo far..

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Once again another A.W responds to my comment and mis-understands it and points the finger.I said that Americans in general don't really pay attention or care enough about a typhoon over in the western Pacific.If you ask the average joe "hey have you heard about the typhoon named Sanba" the most likely answer will be no and that they've never heard of it.That's what I was getting at.This post is directed to Bobbyweather :) by the by.


Well to be fair, I don't reckon the average Joe knows or cares about any W Pac system unless it's on the news that it might strike somewhere familiar. Just as I reckon the average Joji in Japan isn't going to care or know about a storm in the Atlantic, unless it's on the news it might hit some big place in the US. It's not terribly different where ever you go in regards to what is broadcast on the news.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
drum roll first vis loop of the gulf i dont see any spin yet near the keys
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its just a lull cat we will still see 3 or more systems yet but not till after nadines dimise CV is shutting down may spit out one more maybe the area to watch will be sw nw carb s cen gulf/boc

as we get into fall 8 days from now we get those close to home type storms that form in the sw carb/boc/gulf and track ne out over sw atlantic


KOG- Thanks, I been watching and everything heading out to sea, and I've noticed a few mornings lately been kinda nice, cause this summer when you walked out the door the heat and humidity would honestly take your breathe. The cool down is nice to see. But I just didn't know it the season was over this early. So know i guess I will shift my interest to the Car. and GOM.

sheri
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:
Well folks I'm off to bed. Don't forget to check out my new blog post on the 2012/13 Australian Bush fire season.

(old format)
(new format)
Feel free to have a read and leave a comment if you'd like.

Cheers and Goodnight
AussieStorm

GN, Aussie. Nice blog. I hope the fire season doesn't get too out of hand this year.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17336
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


You got a problem with somebody posting an image of Leslie just because a WPac storm is bigger and stronger?
Should we just totally ignore Leslie and just keep posting images of Sanba?
I have a feeling we can track both Sanba AND Leslie, and severe weather and whatever else we want to at the same time.


Ops, did you mean Nadine?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting catastropheadjuster:
So does it look like the door shut for the Atlantic Hurricane Season? It seems kinda of quite in here for a few days know. Is the reason why the season is just about over so early because of El Nino?

sheri

There's no official El Nino yet but there continues to be a large blocking high and a persistent trough in the Atlantic. That's why the storms have consistently recurved over the last month or so. I wouldn't go so far as to day the door is closed, since we've had some nasty CV hurricanes in late September/early October, but it looks like the chances of this happening this year are less than most years.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17336
163. 7544
looks like more building in the bahammas all moving west flood adv extened for south fl today with flow from east to west additional 2 inches likely
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Don't say that to us math challenged folks!.


Math is easy

Sciences are hard when you get up to more difficult stuff.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9757
Well folks I'm off to bed. Don't forget to check out my new blog post on the 2012/13 Australian Bush fire season.

(old format)
(new format)
Feel free to have a read and leave a comment if you'd like.

Cheers and Goodnight
AussieStorm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting catastropheadjuster:
So does it look like the door shut for the Atlantic Hurricane Season? It seems kinda of quite in here for a few days know. Is the reason why the season is just about over so early because of El Nino?

sheri
its just a lull cat we will still see 3 or more systems yet but not till after nadines dimise CV is shutting down may spit out one more maybe the area to watch will be sw nw carb s cen gulf/boc

as we get into fall 8 days from now we get those close to home type storms that form in the sw carb/boc/gulf and track ne out over sw atlantic
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
GFS at 132 hours, next week might get interesting huh...

Yeah, if liked 90L, you'll love that one. :) If it forms, it will probably be a tail-end low that forms from the trough coming down to the Gulf. It will wander around for a few days, get everyone excited, and finally be picked up be another through and sent back to the Florida Panhandle again. You can tell summer is nearing the end.

The entire Gulf and Caribbean are strangely quiet today. That low in the BOC has been sitting there for a week, doing nothing but causing some thunderstorms for the Mexican coast. I hope Houston at least gets some rain from the low right off the Texas coast today.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17336
Quoting wxchaser97:

Im am blogging from my science teacher's computer, I wasn't trying to offend you. I was just saying I think cody did fine.
Oh no I was joking :).But seriously I'm really bad in math.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17806
Quoting weatherbro:
Looks like the big cool-down starting next week will mainly miss New England and instead focus from the GL's/Midwest all the way down to the Southeast/Gulf Coast and eventually Florida!!!
Forecast has consistently been showing lows in the 40s for us (NE of StL) next week. Just saw a 49 for Sat. morning too. Everything has been a month early this year, so why not get mid fall temps before fall officially arrives. Just hope frost/freezes hold off until Nov.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So does it look like the door shut for the Atlantic Hurricane Season? It seems kinda of quite in here for a few days know. Is the reason why the season is just about over so early because of El Nino?

sheri
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
8 to 14DAY outlook!!!


Cold and wet times ahead for me, I got to go back to class.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
Quoting washingtonian115:
Don't say that to us math challenged folks!.

Im am blogging from my science teacher's computer, I wasn't trying to offend you. I was just saying I think cody did fine.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
Russia - Typhoons:

21 Sep 2011 -
Typhoon Roke hit the South Kuril Islands on Wednesday with heavy rain and gale force winds of up to 37 meters per second.
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 320
Quoting washingtonian115:
Once again another A.W responds to my comment and mis-understands it and points the finger.I said that Americans in general don't really pay attention or care enough about a typhoon over in the western Pacific.If you ask the average joe "hey have you heard about the typhoon named Sanba" the most likely answer will be no and that they've never heard of it.That's what I was getting at.This post is directed to Bobbyweather :) by the by.


Gee Whiz, I must have missed something.
Your comment says it is directed to Bobbyweather.
Your first sentence refers to him as "another A.W.".
Could you please explain what the letters A.W. stand for?
Thank you very much.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:

Geometry is easy, you probably did fine.
Don't say that to us math challenged folks!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17806
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr. Masters, thats an interesting event. I see we have an annular super typhoon and Nadine is still almost a hurricane.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
8 to 14DAY outlook!!!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 197 - 147

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

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

Local Weather

Overcast
26 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron