Record Heat

Look up “world’s hottest temperature” in any older almanac and you will see the temperature of 136 degrees set at El Azizia in Libya in 1922. But the almanac would be wrong because that temperature was disallowed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 2012. The present “world’s hottest temperature” is 134 degrees set at the Greenland Ranch weather station in Death Valley, California, in 1913. But now this record is also under scrutiny.

Climatologist William Reid recently published a critique of the recording, citing several problems including a lack of corroboration with nearby temperatures recorded that same day. The record remains for now, until there is a ruling from the WMO.

Should the 1913 Death Valley temperature record be removed from the record, 129.2 degrees would be the diminished, new world record and it would be a tie between Death Valley set in 2013 and Mitribah, Kuwait, recorded just this summer.

Meteorologist John Wheeler