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 Grothar:
Nadine is showing off.





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



Anyone having a prob accessing the NWS right now?
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interesting tw moving into the leeward windward islands. might gain more moisture as it moves into the carib. vis.shot of it more impressive than i expected
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1345. 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.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
91E up to 90%.

SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD BE
FORMING ABOUT 1000 MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA...AND IF THIS TREND CONTINUES...ADVISORIES WILL BE
INITIATED LATER TODAY. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...90
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS
AS IT MOVES SLOWLY TOWARD THE WEST OR WEST-NORTHWEST.

Looks like a TD to me:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
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91E up to 90%.

SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD BE
FORMING ABOUT 1000 MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA...AND IF THIS TREND CONTINUES...ADVISORIES WILL BE
INITIATED LATER TODAY. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...90
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS
AS IT MOVES SLOWLY TOWARD THE WEST OR WEST-NORTHWEST.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14012
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
I saw this coming in previous days.......I saw it FIRST!! :P


...DISCUSSION...
HIGH-AMPLITUDE/SYNOPTIC-SCALE TROUGH SHOULD DEVELOP FROM HUDSON BAY
SWD ACROSS TN VALLEY TO N-CENTRAL/NWRN GULF DAY-4. BY
19/00Z...ASSOCIATED SFC COLD FRONT...DESCRIBED IN DAY-2/DAY-3
OUTLOOKS...SHOULD REACH INLAND MID-ATLC REGION AND CENTRAL/SRN
APPALACHIANS...PERHAPS AS FAR E AS VA-GA PIEDMONT REGION.
STG
LOW-LEVEL THETAE ADVECTION SHOULD OCCUR...WITH PREFRONTAL 60S DEW
POINTS OVER HIGHER TERRAIN AND UPPER 60S TO 70S FROM COASTAL
MID-ATLC SWD. LIKELY STG COMPONENT OF FLOW ALOFT PARALLEL TO FRONT
MAY BE ONE LIMITING FACTOR...AS WOULD BE MRGL LAPSE RATES ALOFT.
HOWEVER...JUXTAPOSITION OF INCREASING WARM-SECTOR MOISTURE WITH
STRENGTHENING DEEP-LAYER WIND FIELDS ALOFT SHOULD YIELD CORRIDOR OF
CONCENTRATED LOW-CAPE/STG-SHEAR SVR THREAT...MAINLY DAMAGING WIND.

DAY-5/19TH/20TH...SVR WIND THREAT MAY DEVELOP OVER PORTIONS NEW
ENGLAND
...WHERE SUFFICIENT MOISTENING/DIURNAL HEATING CAN OCCUR TO
YIELD AT LEAST MRGL PREFRONTAL CAPE. HOWEVER...GREATER UNCERTAINTY
ON SPEED/TIMING OF FROPA PRECLUDES SPECIFIC 30% UNCONDITIONAL-SVR
LINE ATTM.

..EDWARDS.. 09/15/2012



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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT SAT SEP 15 2012

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON HURRICANE
NADINE...LOCATED ABOUT 795 MILES EAST OF BERMUDA.

A TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED ABOUT 700 MILES EAST OF THE WINDWARD ISLANDS
CONTINUES TO PRODUCE DISORGANIZED SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY.
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS APPEAR TOO STRONG TO SUPPORT SIGNIFICANT
DEVELOPMENT OF THE WAVE DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. THIS
SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT ABOUT 15
MPH. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS ASSOCIATED WITH THE WAVE COULD BEGIN TO
MOVE ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE LESSER ANTILLES ON SUNDAY.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BERG
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14012
It looks like the eye is going to pass directly over Okinawa. Imagine being there right now.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
A pretty strong thunderstorm moving through south Palm Beach county... That's why I am up and awake.


Me too, had to get up and go look. Today is Coastal Cleanup Day and I will be involved most of the day so this was a chance to catch up on some mail and such. I will be with the River Kidz supporting their efforts and programs. They raised more than 1100 dollars with their drive through lemonade stand and donations last year. They are doing a good job of helping community awareness about water quality and the St. Lucie estuaries, a tributary of the Indian River lagoon.



Wherever you are today, coast or not, look around and consider picking up some trash and properly disposing of it.
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2521
1336. WxLogic
Good Morning
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Here she comes:



I'm still unimpressed by Nadine:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Good morning. Sanba is looking good, T numbers have jumped, they suggest she's at 120-125kts, JTWC has 110 listed.

Is she annular??





Poised to move over Okinawa tonight. There are a few chasers that will let the world know what is going on over there.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14012
Good morning. Sanba is looking good, T numbers have jumped, they suggest she's at 120-125kts, JTWC has 110 listed.

Is she annular??



Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7613
1332. LargoFl

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
ISOLATED SHOWERS WILL BEGIN LATER THIS MORNING ACROSS INLAND
LOCATIONS AND MOVE WEST IN THE AFTERNOON...INCREASING TO
SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS...WITH NUMEROUS STORMS ALONG THE COAST
FROM TAMPA TO FORT MYERS. THESE CONTINUE MOVING WEST OUT OVER THE
GULF AND DIMINISH TONIGHT. THE GREATEST THREATS WILL BE STRONG
WINDS.. DANGEROUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING...AND HEAVY BUT BRIEF
RAINFALL WITH MINOR FLOODING POSSIBLE.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL CONTINUE AS A
COOL FRONT MOVES INTO THE STATE AND STALLS ACROSS CENTRAL FLORIDA
MID-WEEK. THIS FRONT WEAKENS IN PLACE BY FRIDAY. THE PRIMARY
HAZARDS WILL BE STRONG WINDS...DANGEROUS CLOUD TO GROUND
LIGHTNING...AND HEAVY RAINFALL RESULTING IN MINOR FLOODING.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION WILL NOT BE NEEDED TODAY.

$$
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1331. LargoFl
...............yellow still 10%
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1330. LargoFl
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1329. LargoFl
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1328. LargoFl
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MELBOURNE HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY FOR...
EASTERN MARTIN COUNTY IN FLORIDA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...STUART...PALM CITY...JENSEN BEACH...
HOBE SOUND...
SOUTHEASTERN ST. LUCIE COUNTY IN FLORIDA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...WALTON...WHITE CITY...SAINT LUCIE
NUCLEAR PLANT...PORT SAINT LUCIE...

* UNTIL 545 AM EDT.

* AT 349 AM EDT...WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED VERY HEAVY
RAINFALL ACROSS COASTAL AREAS OF SOUTHEAST SAINT LUCIE COUNTY AND
MUCH OF EASTERN MARTIN COUNTY. THIS ACTIVITY WAS MOVING SLOWLY
WESTWARD FROM ACROSS THE COASTAL WATERS. DOPPLER RADAR ESTIMATES
THAT 1 TO 2 INCHES HAVE ALREADY FALLEN ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE
ADVISORY AREA. AN ADDITIONAL 1 TO 3 INCHES MAY BE POSSIBLE IN SOME
LOCATIONS THROUGH SUNRISE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MOTORISTS SHOULD DEACTIVATE CRUISE CONTROL AND SLOW DOWN IN HEAVY
RAINFALL TO REDUCE THE RISK OF HYDROPLANING. LEAVE SAFE DISTANCE
BETWEEN OTHER VEHICLES.

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE TEMPORARY FLOODING OF
URBAN AREAS...SUCH AS HIGHWAYS...STREETS AND INTERSECTIONS AS WELL AS
POOR DRAINAGE AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS.

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.

&&
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1327. LargoFl
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1326. LargoFl
...........good morning folks, LOOK how this 7-day has changed!!
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A pretty strong thunderstorm moving through south Palm Beach county... That's why I am up and awake.
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My, Sanba really was affected by that dry air. Seems like, fingers crossed, Okinawa dodged another bullet.
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Mornin' gang!
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2521
Eye spy with my little eye, Something beginning with S...........


Sanba
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Could be the beginning of some intensification.

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Another blog from me to you.
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Dry air is intruding near the center. C'mon Nadine, you can pull through!

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1318. guygee
Quoting Grothar:
There once was an old man of Esser,
Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser,
It at last grew so small
He knew nothing at all,
And now he's a college professor.

Here Grothar I made up one just for you :-)

There was an old man named Grothar
Who brought us all kinds of bad weather
But out of control the hurricane did grow
to blow him away like a feather
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Sanba is back on the upswing after that EWRC.



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There is some in too the S of 91E. That looks really good right now
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1315. guygee

Nadine w/fcst pts and SSTs
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1314. Grothar
Nadine is showing off.

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Quoting HurrikanEB:
Not sure how old this image is because i dont see it on any of the current satellites, but what is the cyclonic-looking area to the right of nadine on the edge of the picture?
I suspect an extratropical storm. Maybe Michael? I'm not sure. It's too far north to have tropical characteristics.
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Quoting kwgirl:
From your mouth to God's ear. Thank you for your service. Reading your handle I thought you were a Chief Petty office in the US Navy. I am a daughter of one, so when I see Chief, that's what I think. Have a great day and Congrats on your daughter graduating. Great accomplishment on her part as well as yours.


Thank you for your father's service. I am a retired District Chief of my Fire Department. Army, Civil Air Patrol, FD...was in a uniform for 27 years. Now I just lurk on this site.

Amazing...had to do it as part of emergency management...thought it a burden. Now that I don't HAVE to do it, I am lurking here more than playing poker or shooting zombies on line...lol.

I absolutely love the blog topic...Dr. Masters, thanks for an intriguing look at heat. I Read Christopher Burt's blog and then watched the Wunderground documentary...fascinating.

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1311. Grothar
Quoting Hangten:


Grothar you are a very funny man. You have given to us many happy times. Never have I seen you angry. May you always have happy times also.


Thanks, Hang.
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1310. Grothar
Quoting SherwoodSpirit:


I have all my windows open. I bet my neighbors three doors down can hear me cackling. haha


I bet they really believe you are on a weather blog!!!
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1309. Grothar
Quoting KoritheMan:


Just ones like Marco, I'd imagine. That must have been something!


Well, we didn't name them then, Kori. We just yelled "Ugh, ugh"
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Quoting Hangten:


Grothar you are a very funny man. You have given to us many happy times. Never have I seen you angry. May you always have happy times also.


The ones who don't get angry much are generally extremely scary to be around when they finally are. Grothar is a man of many secrets. For all we know, he could be one scary guy!

(Just playing, Gro.)
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1307. Hangten
Quoting Grothar:
I thought you all might enjoy this. It was earth when I was a little boy. I took it with a time lapse camera.



Grothar you are a very funny man. You have given to us many happy times. Never have I seen you angry. May you always have happy times also.
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Quoting Grothar:


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


I have all my windows open. I bet my neighbors three doors down can hear me cackling. haha
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Quoting Grothar:


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


Just ones like Marco, I'd imagine. That must have been something!
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1304. Grothar
Quoting SherwoodSpirit:


Oh THANKS A LOT!

Now I have to mop up the Coke I was drinking off my monitor. ;)


The Atlantic basin was only 12 miles wide, so we didn't have to track hurricanes as long back then.
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Quoting Grothar:
I thought you all might enjoy this. It was earth when I was a little boy. I took it with a time lapse camera.



Oh THANKS A LOT!

Now I have to mop up the Coke I was drinking off my monitor. ;)
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Quoting JLPR2:
The CATL wave is making popcorn.


Needs to fatten up with some butter.
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1301. Grothar
Quoting wxchaser97:

Still got 2 1/2 months to go with more storms to come. Something could come out of the Caribbean with the MJO moving back in.


What is the forecast for the MJO?
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1300. Grothar
I thought you all might enjoy this. It was earth when I was a little boy. I took it with a time lapse camera.

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Quoting JLPR2:


Those are Leslie and Michael.


oh! ok. that was weird for a minute. but now i get it.. misinterpreted post 1266.
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1298. Grothar
Quoting guygee:

...
His Puissant Sword unto his side
Near his undaunted Heart was ty'd,
With Basket-hilt, that wou'd hold broth.
And serve for Fight, and Dinner both.
In it he melted Lead for Bullets,
To shoot at Foes, and sometimes Pullets ;
To whom he bore so fell a Grutch,
He ne'er gave quarter t' any such.
The trenchant blade, Toledo trusty.
For want of fighting was grown rusty,
And eat into it self, for lack
Of some body to hew and hack.

The peaceful Scabbard where it dwelt,
The Rancor of its Edge had felt :
For of the lower end two handful,
It had devoured 'twas so manful ;
And so much scorn'd to lurk in case,
As if it durst not shew its face.
In many desperate Attempts
Of Wars, Exigents, Contempts,
It had appear'd with Courage bolder
Than Sergeant Bum, invading shoulder.
Oft had it ta'en possession.
And Pris'ners too, or made them run.
This Sword a Dagger had his Page.
But was but little for his age :
And therefore waited on him so, i
As Dwarfs upon Knights Errant do.
It was a serviceable Dudgeon,
Either for fighting or for drudging ;
When it had stab'd or broke a head.
It would scrape Trenchers, or chip Bread,
Toast Cheese or Bacon, though it were
To bait a Mouse-trap, 'twould not care.
...
-Henry Williams Sage




There once was an old man of Esser,
Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser,
It at last grew so small
He knew nothing at all,
And now he's a college professor.

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Quoting HurrikanEB:
Not sure how old this image is, but what is the cyclonic-looking area to the right of nadine on the edge of the picture?

That's pretty old since it is showing Leslie and Michael.
Nadine now:
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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.