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What is highest temperature any city surpassed on earth so far?

During a scorching heat wave that engulfed significant areas of the southern and southwestern US, California's Death Valley,

By groundreportdesk
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Extreme heat to record nights: climate crisis hits Death Valley & beyond

During a scorching heat wave that engulfed significant areas of the southern and southwestern US, California's Death Valley, recognized as one of the hottest places on Earth, possibly set a new record for the hottest temperature at midnight.

Death Valley witnessed staggering heat wave

On July 17, between 00:00 and 01:00, the Badwater Basin Weather Station, monitored by the US National Weather Service in Death Valley, recorded a staggering temperature of 48.9°C. (120°F). This exceptional midnight heat reading underscores the extreme weather conditions prevailing in the region.

On Sunday, Death Valley witnessed a staggering heat wave as four regional seasons attempted to break the all-time world heat record. Temperatures reached at least 53.3 degrees Celsius (127.7 °F), approaching the verified world record of 54.4 degrees Celsius (130 °F) set on July 9, 2021.

However, the World Meteorological Organization is currently verifying the 2021 reading, as several researchers have questioned an earlier Death Valley reading of 134 °F on July 10, 1913, which experts consider the world's all-time hottest temperature.

Saratoga Spring, located on the southern edge of Death Valley National Park, recorded the sixth-highest reliably measured temperature in world history at 53.9 degrees Celsius (129 °F) on the same day. After reaching a scorching 53.6 degrees Celsius (128.5 °F), the Badwater Basin in Death Valley demonstrated a unique phenomenon by cooling remarkably slowly overnight.

From midnight to 1 a.m. local time, it still recorded a high temperature of 48.9 degrees Celsius (120 °F), an unprecedented event in global climate history. Climatologist Maximiliano Herrera, in an email, expressed his astonishment, stating that he was not aware of any previous cases of temperatures exceeding 46 degrees Celsius (115 °F) at midnight local time. He remarked that a temperature of 49°C after midnight defies the imagination and pushes the boundaries of what we consider physically possible on our planet.

Heat wave affect

The heat wave affected around 83 million people in the US, with record temperatures shifting from California to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Forecasters predict 20 heat-related records will be broken in six states on Monday and Tuesday.

Death Valley, infamous for its extreme heat, saw temperatures reach 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit at Furnace Creek, close to the all-time high of 134 degrees recorded in July 1913. This rise in temperatures is related to global warming, which makes these extreme heat events more frequent.

Despite the dangerous conditions, tourists flocked to Death Valley, some hoping to capture a shocking temperature reading on the popular digital thermometer at Furnace Creek, which unofficially reached 130 degrees.

The heat wave has caused minimal disruption in California, and local governments have opened cooling centres to help those without access to air conditioning. Other states faced different weather challenges, and Pennsylvania experienced heavy rains that caused flash flooding and deaths.

The National Weather Service is warning that the heat wave will continue in several regions, and with global temperatures rising due to climate change, more heat extremes are expected in the future. The world has witnessed record temperatures in numerous regions, further highlighting the urgent need for climate action to mitigate the impacts of extreme heat events.

Highest temperature surpassed on earth 

Location Highest Recorded Temperature (°F) Highest Recorded Temperature (°C) Year
Death Valley, California 134 56.7 1913
Oodnadatta, Australia 123 50.7 1960
Kebili, Tunisia 131 55 1931
Mitribah, Kuwait 129 53.9 2016
Turbat, Pakistan 128.7 53.7 2017
Rivadavia, Argentina 120 48.9 1905
Tirat Tsvi, Israel 129 54 1942
Athens, Greece 118.4 48 1977
Lut Desert, Iran 159.3 70.7 2005
Flaming Mountains, China 150 65.5 2008

Earth's hottest reliably measured temperatures

  • 1) 54.4° C (130.0°F), 7/09/2021, Furnace Creek (California, U.S.); 
  • 2) 54.4° C (129.9°F), 8/16/2020, Furnace Creek (California, U.S.); 
  • 3) 54.1° C (129.4°F), 7/10/2021, Furnace Creek (California, U.S.);
  • 4) 54.0° C (129.2°F), 6/30/2013, Furnace Creek (California, U.S.);
  • 5) 54.0° C (129.2°F), 7/21/2016, Mitribah (Kuwait);
  • 6) 53.9° C (129.0°F), 7/16/2023, Saratoga Spring (California, U.S.);
  • 7) 53.9° C (129.0°F), 7/17/1998, Furnace Creek (California, U.S.);
  • 8) 53.9° C (129.0°F), 7/19/2005, Furnace Creek (California, U.S.);
  • 9) 53.9° C (129.0°F), 7/06/2007, Furnace Creek (California, U.S.); and
  • 10) 53.9° C (129.0°F), 7/22/2016, Basra International Airport (Iraq).

Ominously high temperatures

Phoenix has been experiencing ominously high temperatures, with low temperatures not dipping below 90°F since July 9. This marks the longest stretch of temperatures of 90°F or higher, surpassing the previous record of seven days set in 2020. This record is forecast to be broken, with temperatures remaining above 90°F for the eighth day on Monday, July 17 and will continue until at least Saturday, July 22.

In Arizona, the consequences of extreme heat are evident, with 12 heat-related deaths identified in Maricopa County of Phoenix as of July 11 and 55 more deaths under investigation. Tragically, half of these deaths were among the homelessness. Last year, Maricopa County recorded 425 heat-related deaths, a significant 25% increase over the previous year.

Scorching conditions do not limit themselves to Phoenix but extend into northern Mexico and southwestern Texas. El Paso, Texas, sustains temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) for 32 consecutive days, surpassing the previous record of 26 days.

Mexico has also been dealing with the impact of extreme heat, with 112 heat-related deaths reported so far in 2023, nearly three times the total number of heat-related deaths in 2022, which peaked at 42. Most of these deaths were attributed to heat stroke, and a few resulted from dehydration.

In Texas, 13 heat-related deaths were reported as of June 28, with an additional death in Louisiana. In 2022, Texas witnessed 306 heat-related deaths, including 158 non-residents, including migrants. With the heat of 2023 even more intense, the death toll in Texas may climb back into the hundreds.

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