17 August 2020 16:42
A temperature of 54.4C (129.9F) has been recorded in California during an intense heatwave - in what could be the hottest reading ever reliably taken on the planet. An automated station for the United States National Weather Service at Furnace Creek in Death Valley recorded the extreme heat at 3.41pm on Sunday. If verified, it would be the hottest weather since 56.6C (134F) was registered at the same place on 10 July 1913. The 1913 reading officially stands as the hottest taken on the planet's surface - but the accuracy of it has long been disputed by experts. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) installed the 1913 reading as the Earth's hottest after an investigation dismissed a temperature of 58C (136F), which was said to have been recorded in Libya in September 1922.
Another older reading of 55C (131F) taken in Tunisia in July 1931 has also been challenged. In addition, the 1913 Death Valley heat has been questioned as "essentially not possible from a meteorological perspective". Some experts believe modern readings of 54C (129F) at Death Valley on 30 June 2013 and in Kuwait in 2016 and Pakistan in 2017 are the most reliably recorded top temperatures on the planet. But it still means Sunday's extreme heat at Death Valley could see the conditions named as officially the hottest on record. Death Valley is close to the Californian border with Nevada and is the driest and hottest location in the US.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the temperature was recorded near Furnace Creek, close to the Nevada border, at around 3.41pm on Sunday. "This observed high temperature is considered preliminary and not yet official," a statement from NWS Las Vegas said. The reading will be further investigated by the National Center for Environmental Information and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The current record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was also logged in Death Valley, according to the WMO. A temperature of 56.7C (134F) was recorded at Greenland Ranch on 10 July 1913. That recorded was installed after the WMO struck off the previous record of 58C recorded in Libya in September 1922. Experts said the Libya reading was incorrect due to human error, the type of thermometer used and inconsistencies with other temperatures in the region. But Christopher Burt, who prompted the investigation into the Libya reading, and who works for a private US meteorological service, has cast doubt on the 1913 Death Valley record. He claimed in a 2016 article that the 1913 record was "essentially not possible from a meteorological perspective". One expert has said that he is confident the temperature recorded in Death Valley over the weekend will stand. Professor Randy Cerveny, of Arizona State University and who leads a WMO group that maintains an archive of climate extremes, told the Washington Post: "Everything I've seen so far indicates that is a legitimate observation." He has recommended that the WMO accept the 54.4C recorded over the weekend. This means that, if Sunday's temperature is confirmed, and the 1913 reading is later struck off, then the 129.9F (54.4C) logged near Furnace Creek on Sunday will become the hottest ever temperature recorded on Earth. The temperature came as a number of wildfires raged through California as record-breaking heatwave gripped the state, causing power outages. Lightning strikes sparked new fires in northern California on Sunday. Some 4,500 buildings remain threatened by the blaze, which was burning towards thick, dry brush in the Angeles National Forest. (CNN) Death Valley was the hottest place on Earth on Sunday. If verified, it could be the hottest temperature recorded in the world since 1913. The hottest, driest and lowest national park in California and Nevada recorded a preliminary high temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The all-time high of 134 degrees, reported over 100 years ago, was also recorded in Death Valley. It'll be just as hot on Monday in Death Valley with a predicted high of 129 degrees, per the NWS. The agency is warning people who live in eastern California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah to limit their time outside to between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. Nearly 60 million people in the US, from Arizona up to the US-Canada border, are under a heat advisory, watch or warning this week, CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin said. The heat is the result of high pressure that's settled over much of the West Coast. Usually, the West and southwestern US experience the North American monsoon during this time of year, said Daniel Berc, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.