Newsdeck

Newsdeck

New global temperature record set in California’s Death Valley

People enjoy the unseasonably warm weather as park rangers continue to search for two missing swimmers at Rockaway Bech on October 02, 2019 in New York City. After one teen was rescued by a surfer, his two companions remain missing and are presumed drowned after entering rough surf yesterday to escape the heat. New York City is experiencing an unusually long beach season this year as both water and air temperatures remain high. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Aug 17 (Reuters) - The hottest air temperature recorded anywhere on the planet in at least a century, and possibly ever, was reached in Death Valley in California's Mojave Desert on Sunday afternoon where it soared to 130 Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius).

By Jonathan Allen and Kanishka Singh

An automated observation system run by the U.S. National Weather Service at Furnace Creek reported the record at 3:41 p.m. local time.

It was a dry heat: humidity fell to 7%. But it felt “insanely hot” all the same, according to meteorologist Daniel Berc, who is based in the NWS Las Vegas bureau and forecast that the heat wave would continue all week.

“It’s literally like being in an oven,” he said in a telephone interview. “Today is another day we could take another run at 130F.”

A temperature of 134F (56.7C) was recorded in Death Valley in July 1913. Some meteorologists dispute the older record, however, with recent research pointing to the likelihood it was the result of observer error.

“That’s an official record until it’s debunked through the scientific process and accepted by the World Meteorological Organization,” Berc said.

The record comes as climate scientists warn of the dangers of a warming planet. Last month was the world’s third-hottest July on record, and three of the hottest ever Julys all occurred within the last five years.

Sunday’s temperature will undergo a formal review, Berc said. Technicians will check the thermometer out in Furnace Creek is working properly. The NWS will convene a so-called climate extremes committee to ensure there’s no reason to doubt Sunday’s data.

Only a couple of dozen people live in Furnace Creek, but the area is a popular tourist attraction.

Staff and guests at The Oasis hotel nearby were being urged to wear hats and sip water relentlessly while outside, according to general manager John Kukreja.

He tells guests that extreme heat does unexpected things to the body.

“You’re going to sweat and the sweat’s going to dry instantly and you’re never going to know you actually felt hot,” he said. “Your hair stands on end. It’s almost like you feel like you’re cold, like goosebumps.” (Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Jonathan Allen in New York; editing by Philippa Fletcher, Chizu Nomiyama and Mark Potter)

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.