It seems NOAA has ‘de-modernized’ the official Death Valley station to use older equipment to make a record more likely

About those ‘record’ Death Valley temperatures everybody is waiting for…

UPDATE: 128°F today at Death Valley COOP station. See Record Event Report below.

It seems the media and the alarmists are cheering on the possibility of an all-time temperature record in Death Valley. There’s lots of hullabaloo over the supposedly tied all time temperature record of 117°F in Las Vegas yesterday, which turned out to be false, but was tied today. And there has been lots of news on the potential for a new all-time temperature record in Death Valley, which would negate the all time world record of 134°F on July 10th, 1913, since the previous world record in Libya of 136.4°F (58°C) was recently said to be unreliable due to it being measured over asphalt and having an untrained observer.

But it looks like this anticipated new record for Death Valley may not come to pass. As of this writing, it is 125°F in Death Valley according to the Climate Reference Network site, the last three days of hourly data show it to be well short of the all time record, and the forecasts are ramping down for the predicted high in Death Valley and are expected to fall well short of the 134°F all time record:

Furnace_creek_forecast_06-30-13

Source: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=vef&sid=ISWC1&num=72&raw=0

NWS Las Vegas posted this infographic about the COOP station there:

Death_Valley_COOP

But that only tells half of the story. You see, about 100 meters away  from the Cotton Region Shelter (CRS) aka Stevenson Screen is was a NOAA MMTS electronic thermometer, which I documented on Wednesday the 31st of October 2007:

Death Valley MMTS looking NW

Note the proximity to the asphalt and the building, a definite siting no-no. This station would be a CRN4 (unacceptable siting – heat sinks/sources within 10 meters) in this setup since the asphalt is less than 10 meters away.

Source: SurfaceStations.org

Here’s the aerial view:

Death Valley Furnace Creek Aerial View

But, an interesting thing has occurred, and I’d like to think that my work had something to do with it. It seems NOAA has abandoned the MMTS electronic thermometer and has gone back to using the max-min mercury thermometer in the Stevenson Screen.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen, especially since the MMTS was supposed to be the “modernized” version of the COOP station equipment.

Metadata at NCDC confirms this, see below. the max-min thermometer was put back in service on September 19th, 2012:

DeathValley_metadata_MMTS-MXMN

The MMTS electronic thermometer went in service on May 20th, 1999:

Death_Valley_metadata_switch_to_MMTS

Source: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/homr/#ncdcstnid=10100093&tab=PHR

What the NWS Las Vegas doesn’t mention in their infographic when they say “things have become much more modern today” is that the site was using modernized equipment for over 12 years, but now has “de-modernized” the station.

Here’s another infographic from the high yesterday, showing the thermometer reading. The photo taken by the National Park Service:

DV_thermometer

Why would this be?

I have two possible confounding factors.

1. As we learned from Menne et al. 2010, the MMTS shelter has a cool bias despite the overwhelming proximity of these sensors to buildings and other surfaces due to cable length/trenching issues putting them closer than the original stations they replaced. This has to do with the Gill shield (the stacked plates on the pole) offering better protection from solar radiation than the older stations. This better exposure and hence a cooler measurement environment is actually of greater magnitude than the warming introduced by proximity to buildings and surfaces.

2. As we learned from the SurfaceStations project, many CRS/Stevenson screen stations are is disrepair due to paint issues and blackening of  wood due to exposure. They tend to read higher temperatures due to absorbing more solar radiation due to flaking paint and darkening wood.

Did NOAA decide to go back to the CRS/Stevenson Screen because they knew it had a better chance of setting a new all-time high temperature record? It’s a possibility. It is also possible that since the El-Azizia record was shot down, purists argued that it would be unfair to record this important temperature with equipment that has a different character. They’d be right.

No matter what the reason, NOAA has done something unprecedented as far as I know: they closed a modernized temperature reporting station in use over a decade in favor of the older technology.

I hope to hear more about this, and I’ll advise if I find an official reason.

One thing is for certain, in 1934, there wasn’t a big parking lot next to the station as we have today:

DeathValley_parking_lot_view

UPDATE: The RER on Death Valley for 6/30:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAS VEGAS, NV
609 PM PDT SUN JUN 30 2013

...MORE RECORD HIGHS FALL ACROSS OUR AREA TODAY...

THE JACKPOT OF LAS VEGAS RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES WAS REACHED AT
MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN LAS VEGAS TODAY WHEN THE
TEMPERATURE REACHED 117 DEGREES. THIS TIES THE ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH
FOR LAS VEGAS FOR ANY MONTH FIRST SET ON JULY 24, 1942 AND TIED ON
JULY 19, 2005. THIS ALSO SETS THE ALL-TIME JUNE RECORD HIGH FOR LAS
VEGAS. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 116 DEGREES ON JUNE 15, 1940.
OFFICIAL WEATHER RECORDS FOR LAS VEGAS DATE BACK TO 1937.

AT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN SOUTHWEST LAS VEGAS ON
DEAN MARTIN DRIVE NEAR BLUE DIAMOND ROAD THE HIGH TEMPERATURE TODAY
REACHED 119 DEGREES. THIS BREAKS THE PREVIOUS ALL-TIME RECORD FOR
OUR OFFICE FOR ANY MONTH OF 118 DEGREES SET JUST YESTERDAY - JUNE
29TH. A WEATHER STATION AT OUR OFFICE WAS FIRST ESTABLISHED IN 1996.

AT THE MERCURY AIRPORT NEAR DESERT ROCK NEVADA THE HIGH TEMPERATURE
REACHED 113 DEGREES SO FAR TODAY. THIS SMASHES THE PREVIOUS ALL-TIME
JUNE RECORD HIGH OF 111 DEGREES SET ON JUNE 29TH AND 30TH OF 1994
AND TIED ON JUNE 29, 2013. RECORDS FOR DESERT ROCK DATE BACK TO 1978.

AT BISHOP CALIFORNIA THE HIGH TEMPERATURE AT THE EASTERN SIERRA
REGIONAL AIRPORT REACHED 109 DEGREES TODAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD
DAILY RECORD FOR TODAY OF 108 DEGREES SET IN 1972. THIS ALSO TIES
THE ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE OF 109
FIRST SET ON JUNE 22, 1954. THIS ALSO TIES FOR THE SECOND HIGHEST
TEMPERATURE EVER ON RECORD AT BISHOP WHICH WAS LAST SET ON JULY 22,
2003. THE ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH FOR BISHOP REMAINS 110 DEGREES SET ON
JULY 10, 2002. RECORDS FOR BISHOP DATE BACK TO 1943.

AT DEATH VALLEY CALIFORNIA AT THE OFFICIAL WEATHER STATION IN
FURNACE CREEK THE HIGH TEMPERATURE SO FAR FOR TODAY WAS 128 DEGREES.
THIS BREAKS THE OLD DAILY RECORD OF 127 DEGREES SET IN 1994. THIS
ALSO TIES THE ALL-TIME JUNE RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR DEATH VALLEY
OF 128 DEGREES SET ON JUNE 29, 1994 AND TIED ON JUNE 29, 2013.
RECORDS FOR DEATH VALLEY DATE BACK TO 1911.

Now there’s one more station in Death Valley you should know about, placed to obtain an “unofficial record”. The late great johnDaly explains:

Badwater
by    John L. Daly     

(19th July 2002)

In climatology, record-breaking is of little significance climatically speaking. An all-time hot record in one place can be easily matched by an all-time cold record somewhere else. This year in the U.S. and in Australia, both hot and cold records have been broken at various times and places. They make interesting fare for the Guinness Book of Records, but little else.

However, record-breaking does have one purpose for the greenhouse industry, namely that of heightening public fears about global warming. For this reason, the industry likes to see hot records being broken as often as possible, present a lot of media hype about them, and then go into quick denial and spin-making when cold records are broken, sometimes even blaming the cold record on global warming!

The industry also dislikes a hot record being very old, such as the all-time hot daytime record for Australia of 53.1°C. set at Cloncurry, Queensland in 1889. Valuable research money and academic effort was spent in a futile effort to discredit that one record (Trewin, B., Aust. Met. Mag. 46 (1997) 251-256).

There is one all-time hot record that is the ultimate global prize: 58°C (136°F) set at Al Aziziya, Libya, in 1922. This was the hottest temperature ever recorded anywhere in the world and has stood for 80 years in spite of real or imagined `global warming”. It is even noted in the Guinness Book of Records. But 1922 is a long time ago and the longer it stands, the less convincing are the claims about global warming in the eyes of the public.
To topple this record, the industry has not bothered with the Cloncurry approach – that of seeking to discredit the record itself – as that appeared to be, and was, merely sour grapes and spin.

Fig.1 – Badwater

Instead, the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), has set up their own temperature instrument in Death Valley, even though there is already a long-standing instrument at Furnace Creek right in the open central part of the valley.

The new instrument is located 20 miles south of Furnace Creek at Badwater (Fig.1).

The photo shows the Badwater area with a large salt pan stretching into the far distance, caused by evaporation of salty water welling up from a spring just metres this side of the sign shown in the photo.

Fig.2 – GISS Historical Data for Furnace Creek

It was at Furnace Creek that the all-time hottest record in the USA was broken, 57°C. ( 134°F.) in 1913, just 2°F short of the Libyan all-time record.

The GISS historical data for Death Valley (i.e. Furnace Creek) is presented left and shows no overall warming at Death Valley since the 1950s.

The new instrument at Badwater was installed in the late 1990s, but it must be stressed that the record left is for Furnace Creek, not Badwater. Yet the public plaque on the instrument at Badwater implies otherwise.

Fig.3 – Part of the Badwater Plaque

Here is how the public plaque at Badwater misrepresents Death Valley (Fig.3). It’s red graph line traces the same data as the one above, and it is immediately clear that the ARC graph differs from GISS in that the ARC graph shows a continuous warming whereas the GISS graph only shows warming pre-1950s with little long-term change since. They can’t both be right. The plaque also said -

“During the summer of 1998 – the warmest year on record – we recorded the hottest air temperature anywhere in the world of 53.06°C ±0.1°C (128°F) on 17 July 1998 at 3:15 pm local standard time.”

Having mentioned 1998, that year was conveniently left off the chart. And with good reason, as Fig.2 shows that 1998 was a particularly cool year.

(left) Fig.4 – The Badwater instrument.

What exactly do those skilfully crafted words on the plaque mean anyway? Note, it refers to 1998 as the `warmest year on record’, but omits to say they are referring to the world as whole, not to Death Valley itself. 1998 at Death Valley (Furnace Creek) was actually cooler than usual.

The plaque claims Death Valley recorded the hottest air temperature anywhere in the world on 17th July 1998 – implying it was an all-time world record. It was not. It was referring to 1998 only. Actually, the hottest temperature ever recorded at Death Valley was way back in 1913 on 10th July – a whopping 134°F (57°C).

The sharp dip in temperature near the end of the record (Fig.2) was – 1998 ! – the `warmest year on record’ according to the plaque. In fact, 1998 was the coolest year at Death Valley since 1945, belying the implied claims about 1998.

Note how the ARC plaque refers to `Death Valley’ generally and not Badwater or Furnace Creek specifically. This merging of two quite different locations 20 miles apart is itself misleading to the public who may be unaware that `Death Valley’ now has more than one weather station.

A photo of the weather instrument at Badwater is shown left, the small yellow plaque mounted low down on the structure. I visited there during my trip in April this year.

Unlike the Furnace Creek instrument which is located in the open centre of the big valley, the new instrument has been mounted next to the eastern side of the valley at Badwater. The local topography is such that the instrument sits in a curved hollow (topographical map – Fig.5) so that it is well sheltered from all but westerly winds, and fully exposed to the afternoon summer sun. In fact, the whole area around the instrument is a perfect afternoon sun trap.

On the east side of the instrument is a high west-facing cliff over 500 feet tall, a cliff which will heat up magnificently in the afternoon sun on a hot summer’s day. 280 feet up on that cliff is a large sign which says `mean sea level’ (Badwater is 285 feet below sea level).

Fig.5 – Topographical Map of the Badwater area

Rising steeply above the cliff is the aptly named Dantes Peak, 785 feet high, overlooking what must be the nearest thing to `Dante’s Hell’ on Earth – Badwater in Death Valley.

On the western side of the instrument is a vast white salt pan, caused by salt deposits from a spring bubbling up from underground (the `bad water’) (Fig.1&6). This salt pan has a high albedo to sunlight so that the afternoon sun will reflect light and heat off the white expanse directly onto the cliff and the instrument itself. On a bright afternoon, it will act almost like a mirror to sunlight.


Fig.6 – The vast salt pan and salty spring directly to the west of the instrument

In all of Death Valley, the ARC has chosen just about the hottest spot possible in the hottest valley in North America. They have in effect put it into a natural oven – and done so in the full knowledge of Badwater’s topography. Now all they have to do is wait – wait for the inevitable day when the conditions will be just right – clear skies, still air, a blazing sun, and that instrument will heat up from the combined heating of the air, the immense heating from the nearby cliff only metres behind the instrument, the intense reflected heat radiation from the salt pan, and the mercury will very likely fall over the Libyan line and record the `hottest temperature ever measured on earth’.
Then we will see the champagne corks fly as the greenhouse industry will cry with righteous indignation, announcing the `new hottest temperature ever recorded on earth’, how it’s all due to global warming etc. etc. and all the time, the whole thing will be about as fake as a three dollar bill.
Even the wording on the plaque on the instrument betrays the real intent – the exclusive emphasis on the significance of heat, of global warming, of record-breaking temperatures, of the `hottest year ever’ etc. The plaque speaks of little else. Even the opening words of the text are `Carbon dioxide released by human activities etc. ….’. Consequently, it is reasonable to conclude that record-breaking is the primary purpose of the instrument, not genuine climatic research.

Fig.7 – The full information contained on the public plaque

This is further suggested by The Ames Astrogram, February 7, 2000, Page 2, who reported on a field trip by some of its scientists to Death Valley, (among them Dr Chris McKay who is cited on the plaque), and made this reference to the Badwater weather station – “The next stop was Badwater — minus284 feet below sea level, the lowest point in North America. McKay checked on a weather station he had installed at Badwater two years ago to precisely measure the temperature changes there and monitor global warming — which is much more noticeable in an extremely hot environment like Death Valley. In1999, McKay’s weather station recorded the continent’s highest temperature — a toasty 53.01 C.”

Even here, we have the focus squarely on global warming and breaking records just as on the plaque. ARC even reports the breaking of a continental record. If the Libyan world record of 1922 is broken, as seems inevitable at Badwater eventually, we can expect the full media scare treatment.

Death Valley is an interesting natural phenomenon because this valley is so unique, but the only instrument which will be credible in setting records or trends is the one at Furnace Creek, set properly in the open middle of the valley with a long respectable history of temperature data behind it.

If there is a media announcement of a record being broken at Death Valley, the skeptical observer should immediately demand to know if the record was broken at Furnace Creek, or at Badwater. If it is Furnace Creek, then the record will be quite genuine. But if it is Badwater, then the record will be a complete fake.


===============================================================

Mr. Daly didn’t have the advantage of Google Earth. It allows us to see that even in one of the most remote and desolate of places, there’s a road and parking lot nearby:

badwater_station_GE_aerial

Google Earth street view:

badwater_station_GE_streetview

Someday, in the future, this post may be referenced when a new world record temperature is recorded in Death Valley. If there is a new all time high at Badwater, making it the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth, I hope a future researcher will point out the siting/placement issue of the station at Badwater. – Anthony

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66 thoughts on “It seems NOAA has ‘de-modernized’ the official Death Valley station to use older equipment to make a record more likely

  1. In real climatology, temperatures at a location does matter- because climate is local (record locally comparative means something). The BS world of world thermohydrodynamics for which the nonsense that climatology is known for now it doesn’t matter. There is little linking between even continents that the world can’t treated as one climate.

  2. I’m disgusted with the level of fraud the US government commits in so many areas.
    We really do need a 2nd revolution.

  3. I need someone to explain this to me…

    “the MMTS shelter has a cool bias……………. This has to do with the Gill shield (the stacked plates on the pole) offering better protection from solar radiation than the older stations”

    Isn’t that really saying it doesn’t have as much of a warm bias??…and that the older stations have a lot of warm bias?

  4. Do these people not realize that during a heat wave in summer you’re going to test the highs? This is true in reverse as well, with blizzards or cold spells, testing lows. The fact is no records have even been broken even though we are at the peak of the summer. That makes this heat wave pretty unremarkable actually. We’re talking about, what, one death here?

    This would be remarkable if it happened more often than usual, not that it’s happening at all.

    This isn’t about science, this is about a media campaign to scare people back in line. They are losing and they are scared. Funny thing is this obvious campaign isn’t working. Although the media is giving it coverage, no one outside the usual suspect of alarmists and their usual idiot savant followers are even mentioning it. No one I know mentions the heat wave or cares. I don’t read anyone, other than the usual crowd, elsewhere either.

    P.S. Matt Drudge has pretty much began drinking the kool aid. The last refuge of the climate alarmist are scary headlines and scary photos of the sun.

  5. This is also about the artic doing a big refreeze this year. They put all their eggs into the artic and now that isn’t working out either. They are getting very, very spooked now.

  6. I have no problem with having “fun facts” about Earth recorded. This “Badwater” site (about 40 years since I was there) may be the place where the temperature gets highest. Someplace will get the lowest temperature. Then we have wind, or none. Highest and lowest elevations, too. There was an Earth Science text book a number of years ago that had a map of the world. Things such as the most rainfall in a year, or a day were included. Interesting things.

    That folks go to so much effort to prove “global warming” and make public signs that are misleading and even wrong simply shows what a crock of …

    Note on the topographic map the amazing alluvial fan that has formed to the west of Dantes Peak. Here is a view:

    http://marlimillerphoto.com/Dep-03.html

  7. EW3 said:
    June 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm
    I’m disgusted with the level of fraud the US government commits in so many areas. We really do need a 2nd revolution.
    —————————
    Steady on EW3, Big Brother obama is watching – there may be a drone in your future.

    …and no, I don’t mean a bureaucrat.

  8. I remember going to Death Valley. I forgot which year, but it was before 1996. The one thing that stood out to me more than anything else was, not the heat, but the fact there were fish living in the water in Death Valley.

    Oh, and it was hot. 110F that day. Our van overheated and trying to get out and we had to endure the heat until the engine cooled off. We were near one of the many non-potable water stations and my dad would splash some water on the engine. There was no steam, just poof and the water was gone. Strange as it seems, the 110 of Death Valley was much more endurable than the 95F of North Carolina because Death Valley unlike North Carolina. We eventually made it out and started going to Mt. McKinley. In one day, we went from too hot to too cold.

  9. I dunno, folks. If you’re going for a record high, it makes sense to put the thermometer where it’s going to be the hottest. Given the lack of a Wal-Mart parking lot nearby, that placement looks about as toasty as any.

    284 feet below sea level helps, too. That’s a good 1°F added due to the lapse rate, and about 1% more CO2 to help push us toward the tipping point. Got everything going our way!

  10. EW3 says:
    June 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    “I’m disgusted with the level of fraud the US government commits in so many areas.
    We really do need a 2nd revolution.”

    rgbatduke’s colorful prose: bringing out the “torches and pitchforks” in connection with the egregious use of statistically meaningless averaging of model spaghetti graphs as an IPCC forecast of future warming seems apropos here.

  11. Is there an instrument set up at the old site?
    I would guess “no” but it would be nice to be able to compare the readings if there was one.

  12. If one sits back and thinks about why things like this are happening regularly, you see a pattern of which requires a reason.

    What is that reason?

    Do you think it could be about controlling energy on a global scale?

    That is exactly why the UN chose CO2 as the driver of Agenda 21 policy.

    Amorphous and confusing to the low information inhabitants.

    That is why the IPCC synthesis report is written,,,,,,for policy as directed by global politicians.

    It is about control folks! Not weather,climate, or temperature.

    Those of you in the EU, or down under, already have the “Heads Up” on how that works.

    Think about it.

    Did you read Donna’s wonderfully done book ? I did, and it was the scariest non-fiction book I have ever read……..

    http://www.amazon.com/Delinquent-Teenager-Mistaken-Climate-ebook/product-reviews/B005UEVB8Q

  13. They could only take one set of readings? Either MMTS or MXMN?
    It would have been more interesting to have 2 data sets.

  14. On the picture above, wouldn’t the solar panels heat up and convect air directly into the temperature sensors on a calm day? Why not locate the darn solar panel fifty feet apart and run a feed wire between the station and the temperature sensor?

  15. I am a little intrigued by the positioning of the solar panels at the Badwater site. Solar panels convert about 80 percent of the incident sunlight into heat (try holding your hand on the horizontal surface of a black car on a sunny summer day). In effect we appear to have a >1000w heat source about 1 metre below the temperature sensor. Guaranteed to get results!

  16. Anthony

    Thank you for pointing this out. You have documented things very well and worthy of a court of law. I hope and believe that in time fraud charges will be leveled against those involved in the CAGW scam. Overall there are just too many instances of pushing the envelope in the direction to “produce” global warming. Careers need to be interrupted and the players called to account for seemingly “innocent” mistakes. Incompetence and errors always promote warming. A 20 plus year scam will take time to unravel but the end may come swiftly. I hope it will be soon.

  17. I’ve been to Death Valley many times as a reporter. I was out there one January when they had over 2 inches of rain over the course of a few days. I was also there one summer when it was 128 degrees at noon on the porch of the restaurant at Furnace Creek, then two hours later it was raining very hard from a thunderstorm that dropped the temperature to about 113 degrees.
    I was told by NPS folks that they read the thermometer on the back porch of the visitor center at 3 p.m. every day and called that the official high for the day, regardless of whether it was hotter later or earlier in the day. Whatever the temperature was at 3 p.m., that was the official high for the day. They may have changed this practice by now as that was told to me in the early 1990s. Still, it made no sense to me given that these same NPS officials told me that the temperature there will continue to increase through about 7 p.m. on a typical summer day under high pressure conditions.
    About that time they were letting companies install weather recording instruments in various locations, that would send electronic signals back to somewhere. Knowing what I know about weather observations, I’d guess that a weather shack out beyond the golf course at Furnace Creek might be a good location. It’s away from buildings and blacktop. The hillside between Furnace Creek Ranch and the Furnace Creek Inn is a rock field that may also work if done properly.
    I’m sure there are microclimates in the park where temps are well above or below an average you might achieve from a variety of locations. Badwater is a great example: the hillside just east of the Badwater monument rises more than 1,000 feet above the official Badwater elevation of 282 feet below sea level. It’s a literal oven right there in the afternoon!

  18. JFA:
    You are assuming they want to record the actual temperature. Of course this being climate science, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next undocumented database revision we find that yesterday Death Valley had the hottest day ever recorded anywhere in the universe! We can’t go having the sun be hotter donchaknow, people might think it was normal.

  19. u.k.(us) says June 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    When the wonder has gone, what is left ?

    Smoke coupled with the use of mirrors?

    Shock and panic-induced awe?

    ‘They’ can do it, ya know …

    .

  20. Dagnabbit! I keep forgetting to not format my (/sarc) tags as html. There was supposed to be a /sarc at the end of my previous, but I formatted it as </sarc> and it went into the code graveyard. Totally my fault as I don’t really think they would be that brazen (yet? – oh yeah that one is a /sarc as well)

  21. u.k.(us) says June 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    When the wonder has gone, what is left ?

    =============================================================
    The bureaucracy set up to deal with it.

  22. Todd Fitchette says June 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm


    About that time they were letting companies install weather recording instruments in various locations, that would send electronic signals back to somewhere. Knowing what I know about weather observations, I’d guess that a weather shack out beyond the golf course at Furnace Creek might be a good location.

    Whoa! Encroachment upon entrenched turf!

    Results not reflective of the stated intentional goals of the parent organization (and the home office) will be a ‘tough sell’ on that ‘road’ to acceptance!

    .

  23. Well, these sentences kind of baffled me: “There is one all-time hot record that is the ultimate global prize: 58°C (136°F) set at Al Aziziya, Libya, in 1922. This was the hottest temperature ever recorded anywhere in the world and has stood for 80 years”.

    I lived in Kuwait for a few years and I am pretty sure we surpassed that temperature couple times (not officially, though, because outside work would have to stop at 50ºC. Thus is was “never” surpassed).

  24. Here is the AP spin:

    “The National Weather Service’s thermometer recorded a peak temperature of 128 degrees in Death Valley National Park, which ties the record for the hottest June day anywhere in the country. However, the Los Angeles Times reports that the National Park Service thermometer – 200 yards away – recorded a temperature of 129.9, which shatters the record for June.”

    plus:

    “The 119-degree high in Phoenix on Saturday marked the fourth-hottest day in metro Phoenix since authorities started keeping temperature records more than 110 years ago. The high temperature for the metro area hit 115 on Sunday.”

    They failed to mention that 118+ temps are pretty regular.

    http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/22726449/southwest-braces-for-more-sizzling-temperatures

  25. Did NOAA decide to go back to the CRS/Stevenson Screen because they knew it had a better chance of setting a new all-time high temperature record? It’s a possibility. It is also possible that since the El-Azizia record was shot down, purists argued that it would be unfair to record this important temperature with equipment that has a different character. They’d be right.

    What’s need is – a “deep thermometer” source (within or associated with the organization) to ‘spill’ the beans (or mercury or colored alcohol) as to why the change was made …

    .

  26. Is this where we are? Does it really matter if a record is set in Death Valley? Exactly what would that mean? OMG, I tweeted it first? Is it really down to the medium is the message?

    In late July, 1971 we were hiking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming and basically got monsooned to death. Tired of being soaked and living in terror of lightning we said let’s GTF outta here and go somewhere it ain’t raining. Hey, how ’bout Death Valley.

    And so it was that I was driving my 1951 Beetle with a 36 horse and a 3/4 race cam down from the east towards Furnace Creek, pegged, stuck my hand out the window as one does to assess temperature, and found it uncomfortably, even painfully hot.

    It was only 128F that day, but the place is below sea level. The heating is adiabatic (without the devil, or sun). If CO2 is the devil, it is not diabolical. It’s just hot there, mon.

    http://geosciencebigpicture.com/2013/06/27/a-bit-about-ad…hout-the-devil/

  27. There have now been 10 days at or above 123.5 F since establishment of the Climate Reference Network station in May 2004 at Stovepipe Wells with a high today (30 June 2013) of 125.6 F, the 2nd warmest day in the past 10 years. Today came within 0.4 F of the warmest day of 126.0 F on 5 July 2007. The elevation at Stovepipe Wells 1 SW is 85 ft.

    Stovepipe Wells 1 SW: temperature >= 123.5 F since May 2004
    ——————-
    125.6 30 June 2013
    124.2 29 June 2013
    123.8 11 July 2012
    124.0 7 July 2007
    125.4 6 July 2007
    126.0 5 July 2007
    123.6 4 July 2007
    124.0 17 July 2006
    124.9 19 July 2005
    124.7 18 July 2005

  28. I think the best place for a temperature reading would be in the shade.
    But anyways a record high is still just record rhetoric…if a standard was not implemented when records were started and maintained then the records are meaningless.

  29. Are there simultaneous parallel records from both the CRS and the MMTS at Furnace Creek?

    I’d love to cross plot the daily data:
    X-axis: MMTS temp
    Y-axis: CRS-MMTS temp.

  30. gymnosperm:

    Reminds me of the time in 1991, I was driving through Montana. I had just had my A/C repaired in the car, and I was comfortable on a hot day. I entered a valley and it started warming up fast in the car. Obviously my assumption was that the A/C hadn’t been repaired properly and had failed again. I endured it for a bit, but finally opened a window to get more airflow. BAM – oven temperatures. I don’t remember what the temperature read, but that particular valley was scorching hot. Turns out the A/C was fine… as soon as I was out of that valley I was comfortable again.

    By the way, John Daly really saw all of this right from the start, and finding his site was what first made me realize how much was wrong with what, up until then, I took as a given.

    I credit Daly with opening my eyes to the lies, manipulations, and dishonesty that DEFINES “climate science”, and Climategate showed me that the perpetrators also realized how much of a threat he was. I sincerely hope there is an afterlife, and that his is wonderful.

  31. _Jim:

    What’s need is – a “deep thermometer” source (within or associated with the organization) to ‘spill’ the beans (or mercury or colored alcohol) as to why the change was made …

    Hey, I’ll give you Gleick’s number, he can help create a document…

  32. Rank amateurs. If the goal is to break high-temperature records, why mess around with mere deserts? There are plenty of hot springs. Plus, the climate network has shamefully few stations sited in the craters of active volcanoes… (/sarc)

  33. Mark Albright says:
    June 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm
    “. . . Stovepipe Wells . . .

    The link below (if correct) mentions a 1999 study of a 186 meter core into the Valley floor that documents when the area’s climate changed from cold and wet to the current dry and warm. The Lake Manely area at Badwater Basin has been dry and warm for about 10,000 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Manly

    This makes me wonder about how many times the temperature at this location exceeded your hot marker during the last 3,652,500 days. Unless I know that, what is the point of knowing it has gotten hot a few times since 2004?

  34. This is an excellent article. Thank you Anthony. Bookmarked. It will be used for reference down the road.

    Now we need one that chronicles and details the Libya record also. I had a suspicion all along that the reason it is now questioned is to pave the way for a new world record. These scoundrels are nothing if not transparent.

    P.S. just out of curiosity. Don’t they have any supplemental sensors down in Death Valley showing CO2 ppm and other things, like maybe air pressure? If not, why not?

  35. I do remember the article of the late and missed John Daly very well. I have seen the location of the plaque and the instrument near the slope of the surrounding mountains of Death Valley a few years ago. At that moment, it was mid-summer, temperature 52°C, not a record. Only stupid European tourists visit the deserts and places like that mid-summer. Americans usually do that in winter and spring, when the deserts are blooming under a little rain with bearable temperatures… Which we have done too: Death Valley in spring with lots of yellow flowers everywhere you look around (except of course on the salt flats).

    Anyway, the late John Daly was completely right: the Badwater place simply was choosen to make a new record possible, as the rock walls and the salt flats reflect a lot of sunlight, increasing the temperature of the instrument…

  36. It seems Badwater can be 3°–5°F (2°–3°C)
    higher than at Furnace Creek:

    “For visitors seeking the hottest temperatures,
    Badwater, the lowest point on the salt flat in Death
    Valley, is likely hotter than Furnace Creek. However,
    official temperature records are not measured at
    Badwater. Robinson and Hunt (1961) report that
    Badwater temperature maximums were often 3°F
    (ª2°C) warmer than those at Furnace Creek. This
    conclusion was probably based on an unpublished
    study by a Park Service ranger (Wauer 1959) that reports
    temperatures at Badwater were 3°–5°F (2°–3°C)
    higher than at Furnace Creek during July and August
    1959 (Wauer used NWS quality recording thermographs
    in a standard shelter, but he emphasizes the
    thermographs were not calibrated daily and thus are
    not recognized as official readings).”

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-84-12-1725

  37. CodeTech says:
    June 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    “I credit Daly with opening my eyes to the lies, manipulations, and dishonesty that DEFINES “climate science”, and Climategate showed me that the perpetrators also realized how much of a threat he was. I sincerely hope there is an afterlife, and that his is wonderful.”

    Imagine that the climate science crew are confronted in their attempts to enter the Pearly Gates with an enquiry as to their qualifications chaired by Hubert Lamb with John Daly as chief investigator.

  38. Here is the professional take:

    The MMTS is Class 4: > 10% of area within 10 m. covered by heat sink — building and access road. The CRS is borderline Class 2 or 3. It has heat sink within 30 m., but either just barely or just short of 10% of the area withing the 30 m. radius is covered by heat sink (the parking lot and the small structure to the south. But don’t confuse that little bit of shadow to the west with the asphalt, if looking at Google Earth.

    But CRS units record significantly higher trends [sic!] than the trends of MMTS units. MMTS has since been determined to be more accurate owing to superior gill structure (etc., etc.).

    So if you want to spuriously inflate the trend data, just switch from MMTS to CRS . . .

  39. I’m surprised the deliberate bad siting of the Badwater station hasn’t got more attention.

    I wonder if there are some in Yellowstone placed ‘accidentally’ close to hot springs and geysers.

  40. Guys, If anyone of you lives nearby you could have some awefully good fun with a blow torch.

    Imagine the headlines:

    “Death Valley reaches 180 degrees Farenheit at midnight – Global Warming to blame”.

  41. Is there a way to see data from the Badwater
    station? Very curious to see what it recorded these past few days. Also, is data from that station considered “official” ?

  42. I understand the 1913 temp of 134 is in question and supposedly 129 is now the record at the Furnace Creek station. I have a few questions regarding facts I’ve found. The record temperature was recorded at Greenland Ranch. Greenland Ranch was later renamed Furnace Creek, though I cannot find the date. The official Furnace Creek weather station was established in the early 1930′s (I read it this morning and now can’t find the reference) but was decommissioned in 1961 and moved 1/4 mile.

    Below is an excerpt from :

    http://www.nps.gov/applications/digest/headline.cfm?type=Announcements&id=12742

    The official National Weather Service station at Greenland Ranch/Furnace Creek Ranch was decommissioned in 1961 when it was moved a quarter-mile north to its current location at 190 feet below sea level behind the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

    Questions,

    Was the original weather station in the same place as the official one installed in the early 1930′s?

    How much difference could moving the station 1/4 mile to the area behind the visitor center make?

    These are on top of your observations about the type of equipment used and the facilities built up around the area now. It seems a lot of information has been left out by many people between July 10, 1913 and today that would seem to have a great impact on any accuracy then or now.

  43. Now we have photographic proof the National Weather Service doesn’t know how to read a thermometer, or is intentionally reporting false temperatures. Notice in the box near the top of this page titled “Death Valley Ties June Record High” that the aluminum backing behind the thermometer is not as tall on the left side as on the right. This indicates that the camera was held at an angle to the thermometer rather than straight on. The result is a parallax error between the markings on the outer surface of the thermometer and the mercury in the middle, which makes the temperature look higher than it really was. Since the reading as shown is just barely 128degF, the true reading is slightly less than 128deg.

  44. Wow!
    It hasn’t been this hot since the last time it was this hot.
    Better give Al Gore more money or something…

  45. Meanwhile way up North, sea ice is completely unremarkable. Very much aligned with the 2000s average. If the trend continues, we may even have a record of sorts. The highest extent value, at the minimum point, in a number of years.

  46. The coldest temperature recorded in Death Valley, 15°F (–9.4°C), occurred on 18 January 1913,
    which was the same year as the highest recorded temperature, 134°F (56.7°C), made 10 July 1913!

    There is something for everyone here, alarmist and sceptic alike!!

  47. “The ‘official’ weather station of the National Park Service was located at the Cow Creek Park
    Service Headquarters between 1933 and 1961, not at Furnace Creek. However, the Greenland Ranch observation station remained active through this interval.”

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-84-12-1725

    COOP station ID no. : 043603
    Station name: Greenland Ranch
    Lat: 36°27′N
    Long: 116°52′W
    Elevation: –55 m (–179 ft)
    Dates of operation: 8 Jun 1911 – 26 Apr 1961

    COOP station ID no. : 042092
    Station name: Cow Creek
    Lat: 36°30′N
    Long: 116°52′W
    Elevation: –34 m (–113 ft)
    Dates of operation: 1 Jul 1934 – 31 Dec 1961

    COOP station ID no. : 042319
    Station name: Death Valley (Furnace Creek)
    Lat: 36°28′N
    Long: 116°52′W
    Elevation: –57 m (–188 ft)
    Dates of operation: 26 Apr 1961 – present

  48. anyone notice that the “official” high temperature for Death Valley on the 30th of June 2013 went from 128F on the late PM of the 30th early 1st of July to 129F by late Pm on the 1st?? Being in the field– this screams observer error one way or the other and brings a tremendous amount of doubt of what is what.

  49. Also– my “official” sources state (AccWX Historical Wx– i know,, but very accurate for past data) the high at Death Valley being 119F with a low of 103F for July 1st. Which of those #’s do you think will be adjusted?? I believe the warmest low on record for Death Valley is 104F in 2003 or 2004. The 103F will be spun in the media like crazy,, the 119F will be changed to whatever since the MMTS sensor showed 125F for a high. I know (very little),, this much,, there is more going on at Death Valley then honestly reporting high and low temperatures from one sensor or even one location.

  50. It is clear the Federal government is 100% left-wing politics with 0% honest science.

  51. Does anybody know where can I get the data from the NASA weather station installed at Badwater basin? Is it currently in use?

  52. I recall reading an article some time ago about the Furnace Creek station location was changed.

    • It was moved about 1/4 mile in 1961 when the official station changed from coop to furnace creek. It is at a little lower elevation than the original site of the greenland ranch/furnace creek site that was in operation from 1911 to 1961. It sits just below the visitor center now and according to a recent article was upgraded to newer equipment and then went back to older technology. I find the temperatures questionable since 1 ft above ground can be 10 degrees f hotter than 8 feet above ground. There is great information in a pdf document you can find at:

      http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-84-12-1725

  53. I’m with Gunga Din – why not record BOTH instruments for at least a few weeks to enable a direct comparison?

  54. @ Roger There are several instruments. The automatic station recorded 128F, the mechanic one 129F but the later is irregular, it’s too close to that fence. The 1913 “recrod” is the biggest scam in world climatology, that day the temperature was 112F. The real all-time high for the Death Valley is around 128F, since all the past 129F in 1998,2005 and 2007 are probably overestimated.

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