90 year old record for hottest place on Earth thrown out

There is a new hottest place on earth! The 90 year old record for hottest temperature ever record was officially named invalid today by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This is the organization that keeps track of all climatological records around the world. The temperature of 136.4° was measured back on this date 90 years ago, September 13, 1922 in El Azizia, Libya. For decades now it has been known as the hottest place on earth…not anymore. Below is a picture of the fort that recorded the temperature.

So what happened? Well the decision was made after three years of research. The WMO found several issues with the measurement. It turns out the measurement was made on a paved courtyard over black, asphalt-like material. That will skew the reading higher. Also, the observer was new and inexperienced. He improperly recorded the observation by about 12 degrees. Yikes, that’s quite a bit! That is why nowadays there is so much emphasis on proper data collection. There was a whole class devoted to instrumentation for me in college. It’s a critically important part of having good research and also good forecasts. All the surface observations around the world are put into our forecast models that we use to help forecast the weather.

So where is, officially, the hottest place on Earth? Right here in the United States! Death Valley, CA is the hottest place on the planet. It’s not 136°, but still unimaginably hot. On July 10, 1913 the temperatures soared to 134° at Greenland Ranch. Below is a picture of Death Valley.

Congratulations Death Valley!

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