By Arré Bench Aug. 18, 2020
Temperatures recorded in Death Valley, USA this week seem to indicate that our planet is indubitably becoming hotter and more inhospitable. Even climate deniers will have to agree that the barometer doesn’t lie.
Death Valley, in the United States of America, is famed for being an arid, sweltering place. It’s so hot in fact, that the highest air temperature on Earth, 134 Fahrenheit, was recorded here, in 1913.
The air temperature in Death Valley came dangerously close to that figure on Monday, touching 130 Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius). A few weather experts, however, who claim that the older, 117-year-old report was erroneous, are now saying that this week’s temperature might be the hottest yet recorded in the planet’s history.
Death Valley reaches 130 degrees, hottest temperature in U.S. in at least 107 years https://t.co/lmcBwezUCI
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 17, 2020
A BBC report cites research conducted in 2016 by weather expert Christopher Burt, which claims “other temperatures in the region recorded in 1913 do not corroborate the Death Valley reading”. Burt’s research also covered a 1931 report of air temperature reaching 131 Fahrenheit, and found the same credibility issues.
In light of Burt’s conclusions, the air temperature in Death Valley on Monday is assumed to be the highest it has been since scientists started keeping track. As far as more reliable records go, the highest air temperature was clocked in Death Valley only seven years ago, in 2013.
If verified, the Earth 🌎 has just had the highest August temperature ever recorded, possibily the highest reliable temperature on record! 🌡
130 F or 54.4 C was recorded at Furnace Creek, Death Valley on Sunday afternoon 🥵 pic.twitter.com/Tk26ltdh0A
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) August 17, 2020
The saying “records were meant to be broken” is one that does not apply in situations where climate change is concerned. And the rising temperature is one of the clearest indicators that the climate is indeed changing.
An Al Jazeera report quoted Brandi Stewart, Death Valley National Park’s public information officer, as saying, “We are seeing more records being broken at a daily and monthly level… It is significant that we’re seeing more records breaking.”
The earth probably saw its highest temperature ever reliably recorded today: 130F (54.4C) in California.
But it's not a record that will last. https://t.co/cWu0d9ZLxW
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) August 17, 2020
The extreme heat in the region has prompted California’s authorities to implement rolling blackouts to conserve power, as the amount of people turning to air conditioning puts a strain on the grid. And the extreme heat poses a real threat to human life, causing cramps, dehydration, and heat strokes.
WMO will verify the temperature of 130°F (54.4C) reported at Death Valley, California, on Sunday. This would be the hottest global temperature officially recorded since 1931. pic.twitter.com/AOaWHKWVKJ
— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) August 17, 2020
Air temperature records in Death Valley show that it is indubitably becoming hotter and more inhospitable, in what could be a microcosm of the global climate. Those who wish to deny it can do so, but the barometer does not lie.