The Yanks are known for getting a little hot under the collar at times, but this is ridiculous.
An automated weather station at Death Valley in California has just recorded what may turn out to be the hottest reliably verified temperature on Earth.
High was recorded late on Sunday afternoon
According to the United States National Weather Service, its station at aptly-named Furnace Creek near the border with Nevada hit an extreme high of 54.4C at 3:41pm on Sunday.
“This observed high temperature is considered preliminary and not yet official,” a statement from the weather service said.
“If verified, this will be the hottest temperature officially verified since July of 1913, also at Death Valley.”
Higher temperature in 1913 may not stand as record
On that day in 1913, the temperature reached a scorching 56.7°C at a location called Greenland Ranch. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says this is the highest verified reading on the surface of the planet. However, this is under investigation and could be struck from the records.
Being verified is an important aspect when it comes to temperature records, whether hot or cold.
In 2013, the WMO conducted an investigation into a claim that the highest recorded temperature ever was 58°C at El Azizia (approximately 40 km south-southwest of Tripoli) in what is now modern-day Libya.
Libyan record claim of 58°C disallowed by WMO
The claim dates back to 1922, but the WMO scientists disallowed it, saying there were a number of factors which meant it was likely inaccurate.
A 55°C temperature recorded at Kebili in Tunisia in 1931 is also under investigation and seems likely to be ruled inaccurate by the WMO.
Some experts are even suggesting the 1913 temperature recording in Death Valley may also eventually be ruled out for similar reasons.
Verification of the temperature must now be awaited
If that happens, it could make Sunday’s temperature reading of 54.4C the hottest verified temperature on Earth.
“There are nagging questions about the validity of even hotter reports from Death Valley in 1913 and Tunisia in 1931. What we can say with high confidence is that, if confirmed, this is the highest temperature observed on Earth in almost a century,” Bob Henson, a meteorologist, told the American Geophysical Union.
Death Valley is located in the Mojave Desert in eastern California and is renowned as one of the hottest places on Earth. Badwater Basin in the valley is the point of lowest elevation in North America, at 86 m below sea level.