Temperatures in California's Death Valley really turned deadly on Sunday afternoon, reaching 54.4 degrees Celsius or 130 Fahrenheit, as revealed by the National Weather Service on Twitter.
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 WPC (@NWSWPC) August 16, 2020
If verified, these numbers spotted at 3:41 p.m. would set a new record for the hottest temperature officially recorded there – and possibly on the whole planet – since July 1913. This would also be the highest temp ever observed in the valley during the month of August, the agency said.
According to a leading member of the World Meteorological Organisation's (WMO) climate extremes team, Randy Cerveny, there is no reason to distrust these observations, which he found "legitimate".
"I am recommending that the World Meteorological Organisation preliminarily accept the observation", the weather expert told The Washington Post in an email.
🥵Yep it was HOT out there today...— NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) August 17, 2020
So hot in fact, that the PRELIMINARY high temperature @DeathValleyNPS was 130°F. If verified, this will be the hottest temperature officially verified since July of 1913. For more info...https://t.co/qFXcIVoPig#DeathValley #Climate #CAwx pic.twitter.com/lAl8NQDCyp
The highest temperature to ever hit Death Valley was recorded on 10 July 1913, with a blistering 56.6°C or 134°F. It is now also believed to be the hottest mercury reading ever observed on Earth, after 58°C (136.4°F) measurements spotted at El Azizia, Libya on 13 September 1922 were discarded by the WMO. The agency said that this previous world record was likely to be wrongly measured due to a human error. However, some still doubt the legitimacy of the 1913 Death Valley record as well.
The development comes as extreme temperatures continue to grip the United States, setting daily heat records across the country, with Woodland Hills reporting a 44.4°C on Saturday – the highest temperature locals have experienced since 1977.
Meanwhile, the record for the lowest readings ever observed on Earth belong to the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica. On 21 July 1983, the temperature there plunged to −89.2°C (−128.6°F).