The hottest location in the World is now officially in the United States. After nearly 100 years of the record being assigned to Libya, which always seemed dubious at best, the experts have finally decided it was in error. It now rightly resides in Death Valley California. Here is an article on the change.
El Azizia, Libya, no longer holds the title for “world’s hottest
temperature.” Today, that record passes to Death Valley, Calif.
No, a heat wave didn’t pass through the notoriously baking area
yesterday. The new record-setting temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit
(56.7 degrees Celsius) was actually recorded in Death Valley on July 10, 1913.
The temperature is only now being recognized because the previous record high temperature
of 136.4 F (58 C) in El Azizia has been overturned by the World
Meteorological Organization after an in-depth investigation by a team of
meteorologists. The record temperature had long been thought dubious,
but this new study has finally made the persuading case to overturn it,
90 years to the day after it was made.
A measurement in doubt
The Libyan temperature had been recorded on Sept. 13, 1922, at an
Italian army base. It had long stood out as an oddity, even though Libya
certainly sees hot temperatures: El Azizia is located about 35 miles
southwest of Tripoli, which lies on the Mediterranean coast. The waters
would have a tempering influence on temperatures in the area, all of
which weren’t nearly as high as the record temperature.
compared his [the thermometer reader’s] observations to surrounding
areas and to other measurements made before and after the 1922 reading,
they simply didn’t match up,” said team member Randy Cerveny, of Arizona
State University, in a statement.
Cerveny and the other members
of the international team dug through historical records to evaluate the
plausibility of the temperature.
The team was able to find and
locate the original log book in which the temperature was recorded. From
it and other sources they were able to identify five major problems
with the record temperature: it was made a new and untrained observer;
it was measured with an instrument that was antiquated even at that
time; the observation site wasn’t representative of its surroundings; it
didn’t match other temperatures measured in the area; and it didn’t
match later temperatures taken at the site.
“We found systematic
errors in the 1922 reading,” said Cerveny, who also is the Rapporteur of
Climate and Weather Extremes for the WMO, the person responsible for
keeping worldwide weather records.
Essentially, the case likely boiled down to someone inexperienced
incorrectly reading a thermometer that could easily be misread, the team
concluded. The resulting reading was too high by 12.6 F (7 C), they
Not just for bragging
Officially, the “new”
world record temperature extreme is 134 F (56.7 C), recorded on July 10,
1913, at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, Calif. [Hell on Earth: Tour Death Valley]
Of course, the record isn’t just good for bragging rights. It also
helps communities that experience extreme temperatures to properly plan
and build for such extremes.
Accurate measurements of past temperatures also help scientists better understand the Earth’s climate and weather.
“The end result is an even better set of data for analysis of important
global and regional questions involving climate change,” Cerveny said.