Death Valley with a forecast high of 130°F would make the hottest location that has ever been measured using modern instruments.
(Photo : Getty Images)
Death Valley National Park
This weekend, Death Valley National Park is poised to notch one of the extremely hot temperatures Earth has ever recorded – and there is a possibility it could even break Earth’s all-time record – all thanks to an intense heat wave declining on the deserts of the western U.S.
The National Weather Service forecasts as of Friday morning that Death Valley’s Furnace Creek Visitor Center will attain a high of about 130°F on Sunday, and Monday, July 11 and July 12 respectively.
Formally speaking, if the park gets to that mark, it still wouldn’t break the record for Earth’s highest temperature; that doubtful honor is deserved by a 134°F day recorded in 1913 at the same station in Furnace Creek.
However, some scientists think that those historical records don’t stand up to careful analysis: Climatologist William T. Reid, weather Underground meteorologist and author Christopher C. Burt in a 2016 analysis arrived to the conclusion that the 1913 record on the park was “fundamentally not possible from a meteorological viewpoint.”
And that undependable equipment and unpredictability between colonial-era and today’s temperature records indicate that other degree marks of 130- and 131- set in California and Tunisia in the beginning part of the 20th century are possibly too high also.
Highest Measured Temperatures Ever Recorded
In Burt’s point of view, the highest measured temperatures ever recorded and also reliable were a 129.2°F day recorded in 2013 at Furnace Creek and another similar temperature noticed in 2016 in Mitribah, Kuwait. Sunday’s forecast temperature would clearly break the actual record If that’s the case.
Death Valley has been baked this summer, as climate change and an abnormal heat wave have rapidly increased the mercury. The National Park Service in a press release revealed that this year’s June was Death Valley’s hottest June on record, with an average total temperature of 102.9°F; the park’s average June temperature since the beginning of record-keeping in 1912 has been 95°F.
(Photo : Getty Images)
Officials Urges Visitors to Recreate Cautiously
The extreme heat hasn’t left the rest of the west untouched, with officials making reports about heat-related deaths among hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and in the Grand Canyon.
In a Facebook post made on July 2, Death Valley National Park officials encouraged visitors to recreate carefully, bearing in mind that extreme heat can endanger rescuers and can even make helicopters grounded. It also proposed that hikers only set out at higher elevations or when the day becomes cooler.
This weekend, however, even those precautions might not be as much as necessary: With forecast lows rising at 103°F, it will be hot even at night.
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