Did/Will Death Valley Set Heat Record?
Last weekend’s massive southwestern heat wave stirred great interest in the Holy Grail of global warming advocacy – break Death Valley’s fabled 100-year old 134°F world record!
Will it fall? Won’t it? Will it? Won’t it? Did it??
Finding out the actual temperature of Death Valley is a lot harder than you think, especially given it is a major national park and the hottest place on Earth.
Which Thermometer to Choose?
There are at least 6 weather monitoring stations within a 35 mile stretch where the world record could be broke. They are:
- Stovepipe Wells (CRN)
- Cow Creek
- Furnace Creek (2 stations)
- Greenland Ranch
The recognized world record was set at Greenland Ranch on July 10th, 1913.
Greenland Ranch is literally across the road from the two Furnace Creek stations maintained by the National Park Service. Cow Creek is about 1 mile North of Furnace Creek.
Stovepipe Wells is 18 miles northwest of Furnace Creek. Stovepipe Wells is one of 114 special ultramodern state-of-the-art automated weather stations set up nationwide to monitor long-term climate change. It is part of the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN).
That is a big deal.
Weather Underground, a commonly used online weather service, gets its readings from the Stovepipe Wells station, but mistakenly labels it Furnace Creek. Stovepipe Wells typically has lower temperatures than Furnace Creek.
Badwater, at the lowest point in North America, is 17 miles south of Furnace Creek. The Badwater station is called an “unofficial” monitoring station. It was installed in 1998 by NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Badwater is perfectly sited in the Badwater heat sink where climatologists believe the highest temperatures in Death Valley may occur..
What is the “official” site?
The weather monitoring station maintained by the National Park Service at it’s Furnace Creek Visitors Center is the “official” weather station.
But that is not without controversy. You see, there are TWO monitoring stations at the visitor’s center only 200 feet apart. One is a very old fashioned high/low mercury thermometer that must be hand read by volunteers. The other is a modernized MMTS station upgrade that replaced the mercury thermometer back in 1999.
However, with no reason given, the Park Service went back to using the old mercury thermometer last September. Very strange. Perhaps not coincidentally, the switch was made at the same time the old El Azizia world record of 136.4°F was invalidated.
The National Park Service stations, whichever one is used at Furnace Creek, is where Accuweather gets its Death Valley temperature display data.
Look and you will see that the two popular online weather services display two quite different temperature readings for Death Valley:
Accuweather’s forcasts and actual measured temperatures are often several degrees higher than Weather Underground. Accuweather gets its data from the National Park Service at Furnace Creek, so is “official”.
Last Friday, Accuweather (through AOL) declared “Death Valley will approach the world’s hottest temperature record“. Normally staid Smithsonian grimly warned that predicted highs of 126°-129° “could spike even higher in some places in the Valley”. The Atlantic Wire even posted a display so that its readers could watch history made in real time.
Accuweather forecast highs of 130° both Saturday and Sunday. If achieved, those highs would have been the 2nd highest air temperatures ever recorded.
The news media, typically, was giddy with excitement.
Actual Weekend Temperature Readings
|6/28 – 7/1 2013||Friday||Saturday||Sunday||Monday|
The Accuweather readings from the National Park Service should be “official”.
There you have it. The real temperature of Death Valley is about as clear as dry, cracked mud.
For AGW alarmists, a new Death Valley world record is the wettest wet dream of them all. It’s a high stakes game. Human-caused global warming theory is losing steam and needs a kick start to reinvigorate the movement. Nothing could do that faster or better than a new world heat record set at Death Valley.
Global warming proponents have been chomping at the bit for a new record ever since last September when the old El Azizia, Libya world record was invalidated. Death Valley then became Earth’s hottest place.
Depending on who you believe, either a new record was set, or it came up 6 degrees short of a new record. However, Death Valley’s record will eventually be beaten.
What if Badwater were first to break the 134° barrier? Would it be considered a world record given that it is not “official”? Who knows?
Does it make sense to use century old high/low mercury thermometer technology to determine the official high temperature when a modern MMTS station is only a few feet away and an ultra modern state-of-the-art CRN station is at Stovepipe Wells?
For sure, as long as Death Valley’s 100-year old record stands, it is a big black eye on global warming theory.