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 Autistic2:


I bought a weather station and would love for someone to explain proper placement for me. I sun, shade-under a roof ior tree, between buildings or in an open field,two feet or 50 feet (it is wireless) off the ground.

Read this.... Link
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Geometry, in fact. Just finished a test.

Geometry is easy, you probably did fine.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
Here some pics of the squall line that tore through central and East Central Illinois last week. I had to stay out ahead of these bad boys. They were packing an easy 40-50 knot winds with them.





So I finally get out ahead and away from the squall line and this little guy decides to send down some penny size hail on me.

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
The topic of conversation is whatever you make it guys.

And this isnt a global warming debate, Dr Masters didnt reference anything about AGW, only the fact that we debunked one record in favor of another, BOTH of which, mind you, were well before the main "Global Warming Age"(1922 and 1913)

It is even more not about AGW because new all time temperature record from Death Valley, was the 1913 measurement, which is BEFORE the now debunked Libya record.

This isnt a doom and gloom situation, we can still talk about the tropics, unless you would rather talk about proper weather station placement till saturday afternoon.


I bought a weather station and would love for someone to explain proper placement for me. I sun, shade-under a roof ior tree, between buildings or in an open field,two feet or 50 feet (it is wireless) off the ground.
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I apologise for entry on Kuriles - that is an old Storm Warning
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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.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17824
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138. Bonz
"Given the importance of the new world record all-time high temperature..."

Given that you're talking about records from 1913 and 1922, I hardly think that the small change is a big deal given how much time has passed. This is merely a correction to something that happened almost a century ago. Big yawn.

Of course, like most here, I come for the tropics, not for global warming stuff. I'd prefer to see the emphasis here remain on tropical weather - but given the recent past and the eagerness to bang the drum of global warming, it's obvious that won't happen any time soon.
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cold fronts dont do much here this time of year........
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Quoting AussieStorm:

No, only ex-tropical Typhoon Agnes of 1957 crossed Russia.



Looks as though Sanba may change this - unless you only mean mainland.
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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!!!
we could sure use it down here
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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!!!
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Quoting 12george1:
Just curious, has a tropical cyclone ever struck Russia while tropical?

No, only ex-tropical Typhoon Agnes of 1957 crossed Russia.

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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Gee, someone is wound up a little too tight this morning. I know Leslie hasn't lived up to your expectations but good grief, it's just a storm. Track what you choose to. Even if it's fair skies, GA. Chill, Bud.
gee someone likes to poke and incite other bloggers in order to justify claims that the bloggers are wound up seems you do it every new blog post too funny huh
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Quoting SSideBrac:


Depends whether you mean old Russia, USSR or modern Russia and I am not being facetious.
I do not actually know but would imagine that it is entirely feasible - although it may have been on islands that another nation may say is not Russia.




As a matter of remote interest :

A cyclone almost 2,000 kilometres in diameter is approaching Russia's Sakhalin and Kurile islands. A storm warning has been issued there, the Sakhalin department of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations reported on Wednesday.

It said precipitations and snowstorms are expected in southern regions of Sakhalin Island on Thursday. The visibility will be no more than 1,000 meters. Incidents and damages to transport and fishing ships are possible.

The Kurile Islands will be the most hit by the cyclone. Hurricane-force winds are expected there already on Wednesday. Waves will be up to six meters high. All ships have received recommendations to hide in safe bays.


According to Sakhalin meteorologists, the cyclone will be raging over the islands till Friday, after which it will begin to gradually move into the Pacific Ocean.
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Quoting indianrivguy:



shakes head... those folks have had enough rain....
yeah they sure have
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Quoting LargoFl:
GFS at 120 hours, low in the gulf........



shakes head... those folks have had enough rain....
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GFS at 132 hours, next week might get interesting huh...
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Quoting 12george1:
Just curious, has a tropical cyclone ever struck Russia while tropical?


Depends whether you mean old Russia, USSR or modern Russia and I am not being facetious.
I do not actually know but would imagine that it is entirely feasible - although it may have been on islands that another nation may say is not Russia.


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GFS at 120 hours, low in the gulf........
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GFS at 96 hours..notice the Low............
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120. VR46L
Nadine

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


For a second i thought i was on a different site after clicking that, then i realized it was just the ancient format, LOL

still resisting the change to the better? ;)

I prefer the old format to the new. I'll add a link in the new format. lol
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Quoting 7544:
if the blob could hold together in the gulf the front coming down could push back to the nne interesting to see what happens if it holds
i do notice my local 7-day forecast has rain chances for monday up to 70%,something is going on
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This little blob is still trying to keep its spin.

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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Jupiter Beach


mmm freshwater foamage got that going all along the southeast coast. I was interviewed today by tv10 vero about the Indian River lagoon. Lotsa water.


88. ILwthrfan 11:36 AM EDT on September 13, 2012

nice animation, thanks
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114. 7544
if the blob could hold together in the gulf the front coming down could push back to the nne interesting to see what happens if it holds
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Quoting 7544:


yeap remember the loop the models were showing last week from the gom invest there it is it did the loop from bahammas to the west lol
lol sure did huh
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110. 7544
Quoting LargoFl:
sure looks like it blew up in size last couple of hours,was supposed to be the leftovers from that old cool front


yeap remember the loop the models were showing last week from the gom invest there it is it did the loop from bahammas to the west lol
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THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS AND
ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT

SCATTERED FAST MOVING SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED
ACROSS THE FLORIDA KEYS AND THE SURROUNDING COASTAL WATERS TODAY AND
TONIGHT. ANY OF THE SHOWER OR THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY WILL BE CAPABLE
OF PRODUCING WIND GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 30 KNOTS. THUNDERSTORMS WILL
ALSO PRODUCE FREQUENT CLOUD TO SURFACE LIGHTNING STRIKES.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY

ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE FLORIDA KEYS AND THE
SURROUNDING COASTAL WATERS THROUGH THE PERIOD. THE PRIMARY THUNDERSTORM
HAZARDS WILL BE CLOUD TO SURFACE LIGHTNING STRIKES AND LOCAL WIND GUSTS
IN EXCESS OF 30 KNOTS.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION IS NOT ANTICIPATED.

$$
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Quoting AussieStorm:
I have just finished my forecast blog on the 2012/13 Australian Bush Fire season. Feel free to have a read and leave a comment if you'd like.

Cheers
AussieStorm


For a second i thought i was on a different site after clicking that, then i realized it was just the ancient format, LOL

still resisting the change to the better? ;)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
I have just finished my forecast blog 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
AussieStorm
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

We're over here, Bud. Pay attention.



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.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
is this remnants of Isaac??
sure looks like it blew up in size last couple of hours,was supposed to be the leftovers from that old cool front
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102. shauntanner (Admin)
Remember, if you would like to see all of the evidence that the committee saw to overturn the record, watch the documentary WU put together here.

http://www.wunderground.com/deadheat
Quoting kwgirl:
Yes, it has been dark as dusk here in Key West with thunder in the distance. I am at the west end of Key West.


Yeah, it sure looks like everything got watered there today. Maybe starting to clear out soon.

a href="Photobucket" target="_blank">
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south florida pay attention to your local warnings today..
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is this remnants of Isaac??
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Something going on under there?


Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760

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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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