California’s Death Valley lived up to its name on Sunday as temperatures soared to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius).
In the midst of a historic heatwave in western America, Sunday’s temperature was the highest ever recorded in August anywhere in the world.
According to the National Weather Service, the thermometer hit 130 degrees at 3:41 pm Pacific time on Sunday in the aptly-named Furnace Creek area of Death Valley.
It is still to be verified, but Randy Cerveny, who leads the World Meteorological Organization’s weather and climate extremes team, is confident the record will stand.
“I am recommending that the World Meteorological Organization preliminary accept the observation,” Cerveny stated in an email. “In the upcoming weeks, we will, of course, be examining it in detail, along with the US National Climate Extremes Committee, using one of our international evaluation teams.”
Death Valley also held the previous record high temperature – 134 degrees (56.6 degrees Celsius) was recorded there in 1913. However, a 2016 study concluded that from a meteorological perspective, that would simply not have been possible. Of course, over 100 years ago, measuring equipment would not have been as advances and reliable as it is today.
Per the climate data in xmACIS2, this is the first time since 1913 that Death Valley has reached 130F. In July 2013, it last reached 129F. If valid, it would be the hottest August temperature at the site by 3F. @NWSVegas pic.twitter.com/gZNBW4NXI4
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) August 16, 2020
Instead, many climatologists had considered three 129-degree readings as the planet’s highest-ever readings. Those came in Death Valley in 2013, and in Kuwait and Pakistan in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
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There was also a temperature of 131 degrees Fahrenheit recorded in Kebili Tunisia, in 1931. This is thought however also not to be a reliable reading.
Baking below sea level
Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in the United States. It sits 190 feet below sea level in the Mojave Desert.
In July 2018 the average temperature there was 108.1 degrees (42.4 Celsius) – the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.
There were several other areas in California which hit record highs last week. That included Oakland, which topped 100 for the first time on record in August. Needles, in the southeastern desert, maxed out at 123 degrees, another record for August.
Phoenix equaled its previous highest temperature while Sacramento went up to 112, also a record.
Scientists believe that that the intensity, frequency, and duration of heatwaves are rising, due to human-induced climate change.
Fires have also become an ever-increasing problem, especially on America’s west coast.
IMAGE FEATURED: sellphoto1