ASK TOM: Is it true the world’s highest temperature was recorded at Death Valley, Calif.?

Dear Tom,

Is it true the world’s highest temperature was recorded at Death Valley, Calif.? I thought the record was in the Sahara Desert.

–Richard Barrett

 

Dear Richard,
It’s true. The world high temperature record, 136 degrees at El Azizia, Libya, on Sept. 13, 1922, was rejected by the World Meteorological Organization Commission on Climatology after an exhaustive review of conditions surrounding the event. The Commission based its action on five major concerns: problems with instrumentation, an inexperienced observer, unrepresentative microclimate at the site, poor relationship to surrounding temperatures and poor comparison to subsequent temperatures there. After further review, the Earth’s new highest temperature: 134 degrees as measured at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, California, on July 10, 1913.

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