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: 1397 - 1347

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 larousse:
Darn, it's hard being a newbie! I'm familiar with the numbering of invests, to wit: 91L. What are these P27L, P28L designations?


It's a different kind of numbering system. The P stands for "pouches", which are pouches of clouds that are determined to be useful for researching purposes.
http://www.met.nps.edu/~mtmontgo/storms2012/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not so nice now...and going to get worse...

SPECI RODN 151331Z AUTO 06035G44KT 6SM R05/5000FT RA BR FEW001 BKN017 OVC027 26/26 A2934 RMK AO2 PK WND 06050/1255 SLP934

Obviously the wind is notable, but that 26/26 temperature/dew-point...now that's muggy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
C'mon Nadine..at least make it up to 90mph..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16981
Darn, it's hard being a newbie! I'm familiar with the numbering of invests, to wit: 91L. What are these P27L, P28L designations?

Quoting WxLogic:
Looks like we're starting to see a flip in possible events with P27L and P28L:



GFS appears to be hinting a change in steering which is now causing P28L to move N... E of the Leeward Islands and P27L to briefly make several attempt to develop as it passes through the Leeward/Windward Islands and again across the NW Carib.

P27L has developed a 500MB MLC and already has one at 850/700MB. Will it keep it up and validate NGPs possible solution or will it go poof. We shall see soon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1393. Grothar
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26156
Quoting LargoFl:
...........good morning folks, LOOK how this 7-day has changed!!


Its like Hawaii...make one forecast then roll the tape for a month :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
You folks complaining DO realize that this post is two days old... right?

Free speech is a red herring-- as far as I know, Jeff Masters is not a government institution. He could ban all of us on a whim if he chose, and there's nothing we could do about it (though it would be spectacularly bad for business...).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tango01:


So much for free speech and tolerance to other people opinion.
Tango.......It ain't gonna happen here
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tango01:

I think Gulfpilot has a point here. I don't understand why the rush of discussing a temperature record now when there are two hurricanes/typhoons in the tropics. This temperature record could be discussed in a few months when things are quieter in the tropics.
The argument about news stream is not correct because the only reason why the temperature record is discussed now is because it is now that the record in Africa was dismissed. So Dr. Masters is indeed basing this post on a current event and prioritizing the temperature record over a significant typhoon. Regarding the global warming connection, I don't think this is the case here because these records are decades old. I just think that Dr. Masters is a "records geek" at heart.

Let's all wait until this afternoon. He promised us a new blog. We'll see what he writes then. In the meantime, let's stop talking about this. As you said, there is a hurricane and a very strong typhoon active.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1388. sar2401
Quoting yqt1001:


You know, it does say this at the end of the blog post:

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.

Also you seem to be forgetting that Americans are equal to Koreans and Japanese in the end...

I don't think that's what he's saying at all. This is, during hurricane season, a tropical weather blog, as stated right above the posting box. Dr. Masters didn't even mention Sanba until it was pointed out to him by another blogger. To his credit, he did add one sentence about Sanba after that. The temperature record change, while interesting, is not of world shattering importance. The progress of Sanba, which appears to be one of the strongest Typhoons of the year, may very well be the most important weather event year to date. Okinawa happens to be the first to take a direct hit with Korea next up. No one place is more important than the other, but they are both under great risk. I'm assuming Angela or one of the other staff at WU could update the blog with current information about Sanba.

I don't agree with anti-AGW rant that was part of the post. Dr. Masters can post what he pleases on is blog. However, not updating the blog because of a change is a weather record for three days when there's a major typhoon headed for heavily populated areas seems like a poorly thought out plan when one of the strengths of WU has always been tropical cyclone updates.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 15350
Quoting GulfPilot:
WOW... talk about ignoring a significant fact!

Jeff talks about how Sanba may hit Korea next week, completely ignoring the FACT that the strongest typhoon in many years is about to SLAM into Okinawa where tens of thousands of Americans are stationed or living.

Winds currently gusting up to 150knots, and all bases in Okinawa on total lockdown, expecting full wind field within the next 8 hours.

C'mon Jeff... who gives a hoot about an ancient temp record when you SHOULD be reporting about the potential of an EXTREMELY dangerous storm that will affect AMERICANS!

This is getting too frequent with your obsession with who is right on global warming, or how big the Artic melt is this year.

How about reporting CURRENT WEATHER. Isn't that what this site is for?

UNHAPPY



Jeff stated previously that he would be posting again on Saturday, but no Friday due to business. I'm sure he will comment on Okinawa in great detail today. That being said, its his blog, and his website. Besides, all the posters on here will keep the Okinawa subject going no matter what the next Blog Post is about.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1386. Tango01
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


If you don't like the topics Dr. Masters chooses to write about in his blog..... leave.


So much for free speech and tolerance to other people opinion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1385. Tango01
Quoting sporteguy03:


It is a blog not a current weather news stream. Besides it is his blog if you don't like it write a blog of your own.

I think Gulfpilot has a point here. I don't understand why the rush of discussing a temperature record now when there are two hurricanes/typhoons in the tropics. This temperature record could be discussed in a few months when things are quieter in the tropics.
The argument about news stream is not correct because the only reason why the temperature record is discussed now is because it is now that the record in Africa was dismissed. So Dr. Masters is indeed basing this post on a current event and prioritizing the temperature record over a significant typhoon. Regarding the global warming connection, I don't think this is the case here because these records are decades old. I just think that Dr. Masters is a "records geek" at heart.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
Looking more organized as it approaches.
That's freekin' scary
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1382. hydrus
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
It looks like the eye is going to pass directly over Okinawa. Imagine being there right now.

Looking more organized as it approaches.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21264
Looks like Sanba is going to plow right through Okinawa's southwest corner and do so on a upward swing. Convection starting evenly wrap around the eye and intensify.



Click for animation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GulfPilot:
WOW... talk about ignoring a significant fact!

Jeff talks about how Sanba may hit Korea next week, completely ignoring the FACT that the strongest typhoon in many years is about to SLAM into Okinawa where tens of thousands of Americans are stationed or living.

Winds currently gusting up to 150knots, and all bases in Okinawa on total lockdown, expecting full wind field within the next 8 hours.

C'mon Jeff... who gives a hoot about an ancient temp record when you SHOULD be reporting about the potential of an EXTREMELY dangerous storm that will affect AMERICANS!

This is getting too frequent with your obsession with who is right on global warming, or how big the Artic melt is this year.

How about reporting CURRENT WEATHER. Isn't that what this site is for?

UNHAPPY


If you don't like the topics Dr. Masters chooses to write about in his blog..... leave.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GulfPilot:
WOW... talk about ignoring a significant fact!

Jeff talks about how Sanba may hit Korea next week, completely ignoring the FACT that the strongest typhoon in many years is about to SLAM into Okinawa where tens of thousands of Americans are stationed or living.

Winds currently gusting up to 150knots, and all bases in Okinawa on total lockdown, expecting full wind field within the next 8 hours.

C'mon Jeff... who gives a hoot about an ancient temp record when you SHOULD be reporting about the potential of an EXTREMELY dangerous storm that will affect AMERICANS!

This is getting too frequent with your obsession with who is right on global warming, or how big the Artic melt is this year.

How about reporting CURRENT WEATHER. Isn't that what this site is for?

UNHAPPY
Dear UNHAPPY:

A) Okinawa is frequently hit with typhoons, and, in fact, maintains an infrastructure designed to withstand storms of Sanba-force and stronger. (Did you know Okinawa was struck by Bolaven just a month ago, and not much happened there?)

B) 90 years isn't "ancient". And so far as "who gives a hoot", I'd say it's many, many people, given the interest that this story has generated, or the scientists who performed countless hours of research into the two records. Not to mention, since he wrote about it, I'd say Jeff Masters certainly seems to "give a hoot".

C) Do you often spent time visiting websites and rudely telling the people who run it what they "SHOULD be reporting" on? If so, how are your demands normally met?

D) What does global warming have to do with any of this? And what do you mean by obsession?

E) This site is chock full of "CURRENT WEATHER". But you happen to be visiting a randomly-updated personal blog on that site, so you shouldn't expect to see up-to-the-minute cyclone coverage here. For that, please go to the top of the page and click on the Tropical & Hurricane link.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
T numbers are rising... not good, she's supposed to be weakening right now.


It's a she?
Sanba isn't a boy's or girl's name. It is a location in Macau.
The name Sanba, which refers to the Ruins of St. Paul's in Macau, is a transcription of Sao Paulo.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:


What are you marching for?
You beat me Dak...That was my next post
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
T numbers are rising... not good, she's supposed to be weakening right now.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Starting to see a warm spot on Nadine, maybe an eye forming although microwave doesn't really suggest that.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:


look how the clouds sink on what appears to be an eye forming...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GulfPilot:
WOW... talk about ignoring a significant fact!

Jeff talks about how Sanba may hit Korea next week, completely ignoring the FACT that the strongest typhoon in many years is about to SLAM into Okinawa where tens of thousands of Americans are stationed or living.

Winds currently gusting up to 150knots, and all bases in Okinawa on total lockdown, expecting full wind field within the next 8 hours.

C'mon Jeff... who gives a hoot about an ancient temp record when you SHOULD be reporting about the potential of an EXTREMELY dangerous storm that will affect AMERICANS!

This is getting too frequent with your obsession with who is right on global warming, or how big the Artic melt is this year.

How about reporting CURRENT WEATHER. Isn't that what this site is for?

UNHAPPY


It is a blog not a current weather news stream. Besides it is his blog if you don't like it write a blog of your own.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1372. yqt1001
Quoting GulfPilot:
WOW... talk about ignoring a significant fact!

Jeff talks about how Sanba may hit Korea next week, completely ignoring the FACT that the strongest typhoon in many years is about to SLAM into Okinawa where tens of thousands of Americans are stationed or living.

Winds currently gusting up to 150knots, and all bases in Okinawa on total lockdown, expecting full wind field within the next 8 hours.

C'mon Jeff... who gives a hoot about an ancient temp record when you SHOULD be reporting about the potential of an EXTREMELY dangerous storm that will affect AMERICANS!

This is getting too frequent with your obsession with who is right on global warming, or how big the Artic melt is this year.

How about reporting CURRENT WEATHER. Isn't that what this site is for?

UNHAPPY


You know, it does say this at the end of the blog post:

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.

Also you seem to be forgetting that Americans are equal to Koreans and Japanese in the end...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nadine is really trying.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16981
Quoting GulfPilot:
WOW... talk about ignoring a significant fact!

Jeff talks about how Sanba may hit Korea next week, completely ignoring the FACT that the strongest typhoon in many years is about to SLAM into Okinawa where tens of thousands of Americans are stationed or living.

Winds currently gusting up to 150knots, and all bases in Okinawa on total lockdown, expecting full wind field within the next 8 hours.

C'mon Jeff... who gives a hoot about an ancient temp record when you SHOULD be reporting about the potential of an EXTREMELY dangerous storm that will affect AMERICANS!

This is getting too frequent with your obsession with who is right on global warming, or how big the Artic melt is this year.

How about reporting CURRENT WEATHER. Isn't that what this site is for?

UNHAPPY

You don't decide what Dr. Masters writes. Also, there are tens of thousands of Americans in Korea too, if you didn't know.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1369. flcanes
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Forgot one,the wave still at 10%. Will bring some rain to the islands,but the question is when it reaches the Western Caribbean,will it can get more favorable conditions.

could it pull an ernesto,or will a back door front make it wilma?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:
Good Morning everyone, I see Sanba is back to strengthening, Nadine is at 70 knots, and 91E is renumbered.


Forgot one,the wave still at 10%. Will bring some rain to the islands,but the question is when it reaches the Western Caribbean,will it can get more favorable conditions.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like I have a few hours to mow before the next rainy period starts. My property is finally dry for the first time since Debby in late June! All of my st Augustine grass is ruined and has been replaced with water plants, but at least the water is gone...

Doesn't appear to be dry for very long though since 2-4 inches are expected over the next couple of days. Have a great day everyone
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning everyone, I see Sanba is back to strengthening, Nadine is at 70 knots, and 91E is renumbered.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 15 SEP 2012 Time : 113000 UTC
Lat : 24:29:47 N Lon : 128:24:56 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.3 / 931.2mb/122.2kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.3 6.4 6.4

Look at that big round eye:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
That wave at 50W....... why it doesn't move more north!!
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6172
Nadine up to 70 knots:

AL, 14, 2012091512, , BEST, 0, 308N, 506W, 70, 983, HU, 64, NEQ, 20, 40, 0, 0, 1014, 270, 35, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NADINE, D,

...and the EPac has TD12:

invest_RENUMBER_ep912012_ep122012.ren

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1361. Dakster
Quoting Grothar:


The Atlantic basin was only 12 miles wide, so we didn't have to track hurricanes as long back then.


However, the Pacific side must have been interesting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1360. Dakster
Quoting allancalderini:
Hi people just want to say that I am marching today wish me luck please.:)


What are you marching for?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Payback. Frost/Freeze 1 Week Away For Upper Midwest, Great Lakes (2-3 Weeks Early)

O.K. I hesitated even sharing this, because Im not convinced f-f-f-flurries will reach as far south as MSP. But a couple of the longer-range models are hinting at a touch of snow late Monday night or Tuesday morning. Wouldnt that be fun? From mid-80s Sunday to mid and upper 30s just 36 hours later a 50-degree temperature freefall? The way this year is going nothing would surprise me, not even flurries on September 18.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9730
1358. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
1357. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
1356. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
1355. LargoFl
Quoting icmoore:
RAIN IMPACT FORECAST WIDESPREAD 2 INCHES ALONG COASTAL COUNTIES
FROM TAMPA BAY THROUGH FORT MYERS NEXT THREE DAYS. INLAND COUNTIES
AND COUNTIES NORTH OF TAMPA BAY WILL SEE 0.5-1 INCH.


Good morning everybody. Some rain in the forecast for some of the west coast of FL over the next few days and you can see showers off the east coast along the gulf stream from Daytona to Miami flowing inland.
yes we are going to get it for days now
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
1354. yqt1001
Sanba's EWRC is over...obviously.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1353. icmoore
Quoting allancalderini:
Hi people just want to say that I am marching today wish me luck please.:)


Good luck!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Nadine
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6037
Hi people just want to say that I am marching today wish me luck please.:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1350. icmoore
RAIN IMPACT FORECAST WIDESPREAD 2 INCHES ALONG COASTAL COUNTIES
FROM TAMPA BAY THROUGH FORT MYERS NEXT THREE DAYS. INLAND COUNTIES
AND COUNTIES NORTH OF TAMPA BAY WILL SEE 0.5-1 INCH.


Good morning everybody. Some rain in the forecast for some of the west coast of FL over the next few days and you can see showers off the east coast along the gulf stream from Daytona to Miami flowing inland.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Puerto Rico NWS Disco

AN ACTIVE TROPICAL WAVE CURRENTLY NEAR 50 WEST LONGITUDE EARLY
THIS MORNING...WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE WEST...AND WILL APPROACH THE
REGION MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY. THIS WAVE IS FORECAST TO BRING
ACTIVE WEATHER ACROSS THE LOCAL AREA FROM TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY.
LATEST MODEL GUIDANCE INDICATED PW VALUES WILL INCREASE UP TO 2.3
INCHES WITH THE PASSAGE OF THIS WAVE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1348. guygee
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
...Anyone having a prob accessing the NWS right now?
Yep, Ruinin' my morning routine.
Edit 816EDT: Have not been able to connect to www.srh.noaa.gov
for the past hour.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Nadine is showing off.





Yeah.. She's kinda cool that way...



Anyone having a prob accessing the NWS right now?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1397 - 1347

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.