For a long time the keepers of the weather stats believed the hottest temperature recorded on Earth to be 136 degrees at El Azizia, Libya, exactly 90 years ago today — September 13, 1922. Doubts were raised, studies were done, and now scientists say the distinction belongs to Death Valley in California, where the mercury reportedly hit 134 degrees at Greenland Ranch on July 10, 1913.
From the Washington Post:
“It is a figure that has been for meteorologists as Mt. Everest is for geographers,” wrote Christopher Burt, Weather Underground weather historian.
Thirteen scientists from 9 countries conducted a review of the Libyan record and uncovered 5 problems with the temperature measurement...
The 13 scientists began the investigation around the start of the revolution in Libya in 2010. It was forced into hiatus when the Libyan official involved, Khalid El Fadli, disappeared. He re-surfaced eight months later and work resumed.
“Khalid El Fadli did this at great risk to himself,” Cerveny said. “He was an official of the previous regime, so when the revolution began to turn, his safety was a key concern.”
Photo: Mesquite Flat dunes, Death Valley National Park/Alan Van Valkenburg