Sunday may have been the hottest day on Earth ever reliably recorded

On Sunday, the temperature in California’s Death Valley National Park apparently hit 130F (54.4C), the hottest air temperature recorded on Earth in 89 years, and possibly ever. According to a statement from the National Weather Service, “As this is an extreme temperature event, the recorded temperature will need to undergo a formal review” by a Climate Extremes Committee formed to check the data. The last time a 130F temperature was officially observed was during a heatwave in July 1913 but that reading’s validity has been questioned. From Weather.com:

…A detailed blog published in October 2016 by climatologist William Reid and weather historian Christopher Burt concluded the 134-degree Death Valley high in 1913 “was essentially not possible from a meteorological perspective, using an officially sanctioned USWB (U.S. Weather Bureau – the predecessor to the NWS) shelter and thermometer and following proper procedures observationally.” They attributed these extreme temperatures in 1913 to observer error.

Death Valley has reached 129 degrees seven times in its records dating to 1911, most recently on July 1, 2013, according to NOAA’s ACIS database.

image: m01229/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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