California's,Death Valley - World's hottest temperature ever on Earth

California's, Death Valley - World's hottest temperature ever on Earth

California's famed Death Valley now holds the world record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

One of weather's most iconic and hallowed statistics, the Earth's all-time warmest temperature -- supposedly set 90 years ago today at a remote spot in the Libyan desert -- has been deemed invalid: New analysis of past weather data found that record of 136 degrees to be incorrect.

The new record, which was formerly No. 2 on the all-time list: the beastly 134-degree reading measured on July 10, 1913, in Death Valley, Calif.

"This is as symbolic a mark for meteorologists as Mount Everest is for geographers," said Christopher Burt, a weather historian with the Weather Underground, a private meteorology company.

The Libyan record from 1922 was determined to be invalid because of the combination of a poor weather instrument, a location in a bad spot for accurate readings and an inexperienced record-keeper.

Based on these findings, an international team of climate experts from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) invalidated the 136-degree reading measured at El Azizia, Libya, on Sept. 13, 1922.

The team included 13 atmospheric scientists from nine countries.

One of the team members -- Khalid Ibrahim El Fadli, director of the climate department at the Libyan National Meteorological Center -- literally had to dodge bullets and protect his family during the nation's revolution last year while undertaking the research. One of his discoveries, amazingly, was the original 1922 log sheet used to take the measurements, which showed some discrepancies.

"This investigation demonstrates that, because of continued improvements in meteorology and climatology, climate experts can now re-analyze past weather records in much more detail than ever before," said Randy Cerveny, a member of the WMO and professor of geography at Arizona State University.

The results are being published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Death Valley has a hellish climate almost unlike any other spot on the planet: "With an average daily high of 115 degrees and a low of 87 during the month of July, Death Valley is far and away the hottest location in North America and perhaps the hottest place in the world," Burt writes in his book Extreme Weather.

The desert location, about 200 miles northeast of Los Angeles and about 100 miles west of Las Vegas, averages only about 2 inches of rain each year, according to the National Park Service. Once, during a 40-month period in 1931-34, it received just over a half inch of rain, in total.

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