Questions for NOAA and NPS Death Valley that have gone unanswered related to the 100 year celebration of the 'hottest ever temperature'

I sent this last Tuesday, I have not seen a response from either individual listed here as press contacts at the press release for the 100th anniversary of the hottest temperature ever. Perhaps the questions are just too difficult. – Anthony

From: Anthony Watts

Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 8:10 AM



Subject: Death Valley 134 Celebration

Good morning,

I’ll be covering this event. I have some important questions that I’d like to ask.

1. Do you have press passes available?

2. Why did NOAA decommission the MMTS electronic sensor near the front of the Visitor Center last year and go back to using the mercury thermometer in the Stevenson Screen? What was the impetus? Am I correct in noting that the MMTS thermometer was in use for over a decade prior to last year?

3. When was the last time the Stevenson Screen received maintenance for paint? When I was last there, the screen looked quite chipped/peeling and had some darkened wood from aging. Is it painted with latex paint or the traditional lime based whitewash paint which was the standard in 1913 for all USWB Stevenson Screens?

4. Why does the NPS maintain the electronic sign that shows erroneous readings, such as what was highlighted in an LA Times story during the recent temperature spike?,0,6477803.story


There are actually 3 temperatures, if you included the bogus 132F from the sign.


It appears the reading comes from the non-official weather station mounted at just above roof level near the front wall of the visitor center. Is that the source?

Death Valley MMTS looking NW

5. Who is responsible for the weather station at Badwater basin near the turn-off/parking area and where is the data from it collected? Is the data available? In your press release you indicate that the 1913 Greenland Ranch reading is “…the highest reliably recorded air temperature on Earth. “. If Badwater basin station were to exceed the 1913 reading, would it be considered reliably recorded? It seems to be near state of the art equipment.

6. How often is the mercury thermometer in the Stevenson Screen at NPS Visitor Center checked for calibration? From the photo recently posted by NPS showing the 128F reading, it appears to be well aged. What is the age of that thermometer? Has it ever been tested by NIST or similar entity?

7. Is there any sort of backup or reference thermometer in place inside the Stevenson Screen?

8. Do you have a location (lat/lon) for the 1913 location of the station in Greenland Ranch? What date was the Greenland Ranch station decommissioned, and were there other intermediate locations before the station resided behind the NPS visitor center?

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to the event.

Anthony Watts



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Answer You are Antony Watts that’s why there will be no reply. LOL


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


Those sort of temperatures might make this a viable power generation scheme.

As Ace would say, the answer to all of your questions is “eff U., That’s why.” Same answer you get from the government to any other questions.


Actually I might like to fit a diffusor at the top of that. A hot jet of air like that replacing natural chaotic processes may have unexpected consequences!


You are a skeptic and therefore do not deserve any type of answer from us. You will please to keep your mouth shut or we will send Moose and Rocco to pay you a visit.
“Warmist” regards,
The Ruling Elite.
…you may commence to groveling. (sarc)

Martin C

Richard LH at 8:13 am:
that idea is apparently in work. See Dr. Spencer’s website and this article:


Or place a heat protected projectile in it, let the chimney fill with cold air and have the slowest , longest, low pressure launch tube you could likely get.
Areo-static launch velocity and length/temp figures anyone?


Martin C says:
July 5, 2013 at 8:24 am
Richard LH at 8:13 am:
that idea is apparently in work. See Dr. Spencer’s website and this article:
Yes I was really just cross posting from there anyway.
Now I am to trying to use this to get to sapce :-).

Steve T

Why should we answer your questions? You’ll only try to find something wrong with the propaganda information. 🙂
Steve T


Ah yes, the happy sound of crickets.
The temperatures around the world are going down slowly but . . oh look over there, a squirrel.


That trick used to work wonders with my friends german shepard. “Hans …….. squirrel!!!!!! Followed closely by much running around and barking.(and no squirrel)


People who collect and process data often don’t like to answer questions on their results. . . Especially if the quality of the data isn’t that great. I once asked why someone used a 2hz low pass filter on strain data. I knew that’s what they did because the data was not only absolutely gorgeous and centered around 0 but also the FFT analysis fell off a cliff below 2hz. “What high pass filter?” Is the response. . .


Damn your pesky, interfering questions, we have a tourism campaign to deal with right here, right now don’t ya know. LOL.


I have to say Anthony, thank god for honest intelligent peoples like yourself who do all the hard graft in checking the fact and calling these liars to task. I believe there is some sort of madness stalking the western world where well to do people seemingly have to find reasons to hate their own countries that primarily being the USA the UK , Israel and some parts of Europe not forgetting Australia where these very same people are rampant at the moment. Yes these people are driven so much by this mixture of guilt and self loathing that they, even as scientist and whatever constitutes a scientist nowadays that they will torture the data anyway the can to achieve their ideologically driven needed evidence.
If this goes on and twice you’ve emailed them now; it not only shows an ignorance and contempt for the truth but also shows that when people like you shine a spotlight on them and ask absolutely pertinent question they all seem to have run and hidden and THAT says a lot.
I know you don’t like getting too political Anthony and would rather skip that stuff and just patiently put the facts out there but you are dealing very much so with a politically motivated almost spoilt juvenile mind set where truth and integrity are sacrificed at the drop of a hat if it helps create a lie that suit political ends.
Sorry to rant but I really get fed up with it and this isn’t only manifested in the sceptic v warmists .
Anyhow everyone all the best lets hope a great summer an snowy winter even though it is disruptive, See even I’m doing it.

Alan the Brit

Keitho says:
July 5, 2013 at 8:31 am
Now, now! No need for that. I am sure the data has to be duly processed, modified, averaged, filtered, re-processed, re-modified, re-filtered, & then re-averaged, before they pick a number out of the hat that’ big enough to look vey scary!!!!! 😉

Alberta Slim

Excellent questions Anthony.
I will be surprised if you receive satisfactory answers.

Out of office emails are a great source for spammers. I try to not use them as much as possible.


I have it:
The latest in solar power launch systems.
As you sit in your capsule floating in the bath of soon to be made steam water below you check the seals to the launch tube around the capsule are tight. The solar power collectors are just about up to launch temperature now and soon it is time to go.
The launch tube above has been pumped down to the air pressure at the top of the tube now and we are into the count down.
The valves below open and all the stored solar energy and hot air vaporises the water almost instantly so you start to rise. The accceration is gentle but persistent.
We got the figures right today and as we leave the top of the tube we are right on target for orbital insertion.
Eko low Earth orbit? Depends on the tube length and the temps I suspect.

Kevin Kilty

Anthony Watts says:
July 5, 2013 at 8:30 am
For the record: I resent the email again this morning,…

They resent it this morning again too!

Fred from Canuckistan

They have been getti g away with their climate fear mongering for so long, they now feel whatever they satisfy correct.
Time to clean house, demote some, fire others.
A wake up call is needed.

Well said Lawrence13 upthread.
They should acknowledge the email questions with an estimated response time at the very least. Then again, maybe the questions are just too difficult.


The answers to some of these question are freely available on the web, if Anthony Watts chose to actually do some research. The Furnace Creek and Greenland Ranch sites are VERY closely located. I found the latitude and longitude of both online within about 5 minutes of searching for them, they only differed by 1′ of latitude (same longitude) and 2 m of elevation. Watts is complaining because someone else is too slow or too busy to do research that Watts is too lazy to do.
REPLY: And, are you too lazy to provide the link to that lat/lon info you found? Or was there some other reason you did not provide a citation to go with your complaint?
If you have answers to all the other questions, do tell. – Anthony


The recent photo of the 128deg reading shows that the reading was taken from an angle, causing parallax error between the thermometer markings and the mercury in the middle and thereby making the reading look higher than it really was.

Paul Vaughan

Free USA / South Canada long range July forecast from WeatherAction:
“2 July 2013
(i) The extreme heat that recently developed in SW USA […] is caused by jet stream changes and shifts driven by predictable solar activity effects.
(ii) WeatherAction’s SLAT predicts ongoing extreme heat SW USA in much of July, so in view of this danger, (and storm danger in other parts) and in honor of the Arizona firemen who tragically died in the call of duty, we are making our July 2013 ten page forecast available FREE and PUBLIC – […] [
(iii) Temperature records are under threat in many parts of SW USA including Arizona this July and this, like the extreme cold in places over winter, the late cold Spring in USA and Europe and extreme temperature contrasts is direct confirmation of predicted wild – high amplitude and prolonged – jet stream shifts arising from the Mini-Ice-Age conditions – and consequent, on average, general temperate zone and world cooling with wild contrasts – now developing […]
The worst fire danger periods in forecasts are probably 7-9 and 21-26 July
The highest temperatures are likely in periods ~10-12 and ~27-31 July
(v) We request media to publicize our free forecast with acknowledgement […] to help preparedness and reduce suffering and death.
Thank you,
Piers Corbyn”


Hummmm, upon reading the interesting email,,, a song popped into my head 😉


My grandmother had a favorite saying: “A man with two watches can never be sure what time it is.”
Evidently that also works for thermometers.


It would be interesting to know if the shelter in 1913 had a fresh paint job or not and why the observation of 134 was so different from surrounding locations.

Anthony – bless you for fighting the good fight with all your might.

Rhoda R

Bill, Anthony has this statement just under the photo of the 134 degree sign:
“It appears the reading comes from the non-official weather station mounted at just above roof level near the front wall of the visitor center. Is that the source?”

Well, this (PDF) seems to have the lat / long data you seek. It also has a nice discussion on the various weather stations on site.

Fake NOAA Guy

Dear Mr. Watts,
We are in receipt of your letter dated July 3rd 2103.
When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues a press release, you can be assured that the facts are accurate and the claims have been thoroughly vetted by the some of the world’s leading climate scientists — many of whom shared the 2007 Nobel Piece Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.
The debate is now over. We have no intention of entertaining questions that might confuse the public. As a licensed member of the independent press, you must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading, or distorted information. Should you print deviations from the facts presented in the press release without our consent, you could be deemed by our department to be disseminating inaccurate, misleading or distorted information. Such conduct could result in a subpena of your phone records along with an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Occupational Safety and Health and Administration and other federal agencies as deemed appropriate by us.
I trust that this letter has cleared up any confusion that you might have had.


Has anyone seen this study about UHI in Phoenix?
In Phoenix, AZ, “the agricultural fringe added just 0.1 K to exurban sites, which was not statistically significant. The desert fringe added 0.5 K and infill locations 1.0 K, and the
urban core was 2.2 K warmer than the rural country-side. The additive effects of new home construction (1.4 K per 1000 homes) and DZ produced estimates of the UHI effect that are quite comparable with levels in cities of comparable size.”
Urban Heat Island effect.
This is to counter USA Today’s ill-informed, opinionated writer Brad Bannon with the usual hyperbole, Chicken Little, knee-jerk responses.
“Las Vegas and Phoenix are broiling and much of the southwest is aflame. But global warming is not to blame if you believe the Flat Earth’s Society claims. Last winter, Hurricane Sandy left some of Manhattan and much of the Jersey Shore underwater. The Arctic ice is melting, which will raise ocean levels to heights that will put larger areas of coastland under the sea.”
I guess Brad Bannon never took a science class or understood that melting of SEA ice won’t raise ocean levels. Antarctica ice is a different story since it’s on land and not bobbing up and down on sea water.

I hope they respond. From my experience the Park Service has been amazing and honest and I’ve found their papers very useful in defending my skeptic perspective. Of most use was the paper on Portage Glacier studying moraines. It showed that in 1913 to 1915 PG melted 900 ft in 3 years, making Q? glacier’s 900 ft in 25 years seem slow. 1913 is how many years before the suv? Also, a paper that an ancient forest is appearing beneath Exit Glacier C.D. to 400 years ago (meaning it was warmer and for long enough that a spruce forest grew and matured where there is nothing but ice now). If they were corrupt there is no way these papers would be available.

Here is the NPS paper, only it was Exit glacier that retreated 900 ft in 3 years and not Portage.
“In the years between 1914 and 1917, Exit Glacier experienced its most rapid retreat. In just 3 years, the glacier retreated 908 ft”. “Park Service personnel recently discovered evidence of a buried forest dating back to at least 1170 AD high in the Forelands near the current glacier’s edge”.

Chris Gerrib says:
July 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm
Well, this (PDF) seems to have the lat / long data you seek. It also has a nice discussion on the various weather stations on site.
Just finished this paper, does answer some of Anthony’s questions on location of temperature readings and sitting. Interesting that the picture of the site in 1926 shows a Stevenson screen only 1.1 meter (1924 report) above the ground. Is there data on whether this is thee same screen as used in 1913? When looking through the tables on max temperatures lots of years had readings similar to what has been reported so far this year.

Richard Todd

What do we know about the calibration of the 1913 instrument? This all seems like hot air lol

Theo Goodwin

Some day some foreign government, say Canada, is going to realize that all US government employees are PR people first and activists second. Then they are going to invade. /sarc


@DW “Park Service personnel recently discovered evidence of a buried forest dating back to at least 1170 AD high in the Forelands near the current glacier’s edg”
What evidence of forest, under a glacier !!
How do trees grow under a glacier.. I mean, Mickey Mann says its warmer now than its ever been. So the trees must have grown under the glacier. Right ??

“Jim” is yet another pseudonymous troll, perhaps one of the nest of paid vipers whose misbehavior on this site, patiently indulged by Anthony and his moderators, provides such a valuable insight into the intellectual and financial corruption that now infects the scientific, academic, media, enviro, and political communities on the “global warming” question.
With characteristically gratuitous offensiveness, this creep writes: “The answers to some of these question are freely available on the web, if Anthony Watts chose to actually do some research. The Furnace Creek and Greenland Ranch sites are VERY closely located. I found the latitude and longitude of both online within about 5 minutes of searching for them, they only differed by 1′ of latitude (same longitude) and 2 m of elevation. Watts is complaining because someone else is too slow or too busy to do research that Watts is too lazy to do.”
Anthony cannot by any stretch of the most over-funded troll’s bought-and-paid-for “imagination” be described as “lazy”.
I had a look on the web and found the following:
Greenland Ranch, Colorado gives the following data for Furnace Creek weather station:
Elevation: –190 feet.
Latitude: 36.27 N. (not clear whether this is 27/100 or 27/60).
Longitude: 116.52 W. (not clear whether this is 52/100 or 52/60). does not show Greenland Ranch as a weather station, but lists Greenland Ranch, CO, as a location that has no weather station. However, the ten Weatherbase-reported stations nearest to Greenland Ranch (5-14 miles distant) are listed. None is Furnace Creek.
Furnace Creek, California
The Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the College of the Environment, Washington State University, gives the following location data for Greenland Ranch weather station, CA:
Station ident 043603 (note that these digits were reversed to 306340 in the unique resource locator for Furnace Creek).
Elevation -51 meters (multiplied by 3.28 feet gives –167 ft 3 in).
Latitude 36 degrees 27 minutes North.
Longitude 116 degrees 52 minutes West.
JISAO does not list a “Furnace Creek” weather station at all.
The following uncertainties are evident:
1. On the basis of the station idents having the same six digits, one a palindrome of the other, one might infer that the two stations may be identical.
2. However, the two stations appear to be in different states, suggesting that they may not be identical.
3. If one assumes that “.27” and “.54” are sixtieths and not hundredths, the latitude and longitude of the two stations are identical to two places of decimals, from which one might infer that the two stations may be identical.
4. However, the two stations are separated by some 23 feet in altitude, suggesting that they may not be identical.
5. The troll says the two stations are separated by some 2 feet in altitude, suggesting that one or other or both of the two stations whose details I found may not be the same stations as the troll found.
6. The troll also says the two stations are separated by 1 minute of latitude, whereas the two stations as I found them have latitudes identical to the nearest minute.
Given these uncertainties, which seem typical of the general sloppiness in temperature recording in the U.S. (one trembles to think how much worse it is likely to be just about everywhere else in the world), Anthony was surely justified in asking, in a polite and straightforward way, for the locations of the two stations.

Mike Smith

Anthony. You are to be extremely grateful for all of the information provided to you by the Ministry of Truth. The data released to the public have been checked by professional experts for completeness and accuracy. There is nothing more you need to know and we are not authorized to disclose further details.


The very words ‘Visitor Centre’ give you the agenda behind all this publicity.
I think we can all take a good guess at the answers Mr Watts would receive if he were granted the courtesy.

Eugene WR Gallun

Well, My first thought as i read your letter was — party pooper. i have greatly enjoyed our national parks and each strives to have a “billboard item” connected to its name.
Death Valley has had some setbacks — one being, some years back, when “a big fat slob” wanted to have his picture taken sitting on top of “mushroom rock” and broke it. The bitterness still runs deep in Death Valley over that incident.
And the loss of “World’s Hottest Place” to Libya? Death Valley has been plotting ever since to get that title back. Do you think it coincidence that the Libya claim is refuted just in time for Death Valley to celebrate its hundredth year as the hottest place on earth? Yes, indeed, there is a ‘warmest cabal” operating in Death Valley.
Admittedly, this “cabal” does not want to be questioned closely about its operations — but they are striving to promote “Death Valley Warming — not global warming. They can’t help it if the results of their plotting are used by a much larger, much more sinister group for truly nefarious purposes.
Eugene WR Gallun

richard verney

I must confess that I fail to understand how this is good publicity for the Team/cause/warmists.
Assuming that the temperature set in 1913 is not exceeded by the time of this press conference later this month, surely the take home point that any reader/viewer of the news bulletin will be left with is that the warmest day was long ago, and that there has been no significant warming these past 100 years.
Any publicity that promotes the fact that the warmest day was long ago, just emphasises how over hyped the scare is that the planet is warming out of control.
I suspect that public asssumes that the record for the warmest day, the wettest day in each and every state, and each and every country are recent events. I suspect that they do not appreciate that nearly all extreme records happened long ago just emphasising that there is nothing exception about the present period in which we live in.
i considered Anthony’s questions reasonable and Lord Monckton’s comment illuminating. Obviously, NOAA can clarify these uncertainties. Whether they will rests to be seen, but I would not hold my breath.


DarwinWyatt says:
July 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm
Good comments here, and thanks for the link. Here’s a similar story of glacier covered trees from Patagonia in case you haven’t seen it:


The Greenland Ranch ranch station closed in 1961, according to a handout from the Death Valley web site:
Ironically, they haven’t updated the PDF to indicate that the Libya record has been rescinded…

Richard LH

I would like to build a solar powered power generation site at this location 🙂 One built to the below specifications. (re-post from Roy Spencer site on solar towers)
I think that water addition is a poor choice. Although it has greater capactity to absort heat there are much simpler and more effective efficiencies to be made I believe.
Firstly let us describe what we are seeking (or so I believe). We are dealing with a low grade energy source (solar) which we need to collect as much of and use it as well as possible. The less energy interfaces there are (such as moving to water/steam etc.) with their consequent potential losses the better.
So the ideal engine is one that operates on air and solar only. It should have a multi-stage layout with rising temperatures as we go though each stage towards the exhuast. The volume, velocity and pressure will remaim unchanged throughout the engine. Only temperature changes as we move through it.
The first, pre-heat stage, is a flat black metal plate of relative thinness. Below it is an air cavity and it has insulated side and bottom. Air flows in at one end. The plate is angled so that it points at where the sun will be at noon on an equinox and runs directly West – East.
The second, heat stage, is another flat plane, this time covered by an insulating sheet of high heat glass placed a few meters/centimeters above the plate. The same insulated sides and base continue and it too points at the exquinox.
The third, or super-heat stage, is another flat box, this time standing vertically. There are cylindrical ‘mirrors’ concentrating the available sun light onto both sides of this, now fully metal, vertical box.
At all times the volume and cross section of the various stages have remained the same and they are all connected in sequence with constant cross section areas. This allows us to ‘fix’ pressure, volumn and velocity as unchanged throughout the engine.
The ‘chimney’ at the center does not have to be that tall now. We are dealing with air that will be in the 200+C hopefully and the hydro-static ballance we require is pivoting round the turbine now anyway.
The air can expand out to loose the temperature and the work can be extracted by a fan or turbine in the resultant air stream in doing so. The exhaust velocity/temperature is controlled by how much air needs to move to from hot to cold to allow the required work to be done.
A diffuser can be fitted to the top of the chimney (as the velocity is relatively low) and that may help prevent any unintended local ‘climate’ consequences. 🙂
The important thing here is the cross section remains constant, except where we expand it out to get the energy.
The addition of a forth, ‘hyper-heat’ section, with a ceramic tube at the center of a even larger cylindrical solar collector to allow even higher air temperatures will require a higher temperature turbine also.
`Low tech version (which could just be single ‘burner’/stack) could be built with local materials if an edge driven fan is used instead of a turbine. Think of a lorry axle mounted vertically supporting a large horizontal fan and blades at the top. Generator takoff from where the prop shaft was. Wheel on the ground bolted to the floor.
The fan can be as large as required and made out of local materials if the heat is kept low and larger air volumes used instead. Flywheel capabilty can still be included (see below) to allow for night time working even at small scale.
Ultra large scale, storage added, versions would require a circular ‘ring’ filled with ballast, floating in a circular water canal and the ring retained by guidewheels to the bank. The top of the ring carries a set of turbine blades which interact with multiple fixed ‘heat towers’ in a similar fashion to a Whittle turbine laid out flat.
The only difference is that this engine operates at constant pressure/volume/veloicty and the only variable is temperature.
That gives an almost ‘free’ way to stored unneeded energy that is collected. As rotational energy in a very big flywheel. Big enough, who knows, to get through the Winter?
Cheap enough and efficient enough you think?
Anyone want to do the maths and work out the best cost/benefit/size ratios? From Kilowatt to Gigawatt. And who builds the first prototype? Race anyone?


Here’s a really basic question: What do we mean by “the average temperature of the Earth”? Is it the simultaneous readings of millions of [hopefully] identical thermometers, identically mounted, evenly spaced across the Earth’s surface? (Including the one near the top of Mt Everest and the one somewhere in the Taklamakan Desert?)
Any first-year statistics student would raise a hand at the idea of an “average Earth temperature”. What, for example, is the standard deviation of the measurements? What’s the range? Where are the collection points?
Does the idea really have any meaning? At any given point, it’s a function that can change value by up to +/- 100 deg F over a 24-hour span (in some places), and that much again over a 365-day span.
Richard LH: Your “low tech” version is like one used by gardeners or farmers: a tube of rectangular cross-section at the side of a building, the sides of glass or other transparent material, with an opening at the bottom. Sunlight heats the air inside, which rises. They collect the hot air to heat the building, but it could be used to run a small fan-generator.
Unfortunately, it generates airflow only during sunny days, The flywheel energy storage seems a bit wanting. Some years back, there were experiments using a high-speed flywheel to power vehicles (their aim was to power buses). Even at 10krpm and greater, and high-tensile fiberglass wheels, the project never took off. If heat’s your first product, that can be stored in materials like Glauber’s salt (Na2SO4·10H2O), but you’d have to find out how efficient that is. Alternatively (and probably more reasonable), batteries could store energy to use overnight.


richard verney says:
July 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm
I must confess that I fail to understand how this is good publicity for the Team/cause/warmists.
Assuming that the temperature set in 1913 is not exceeded by the time of this press conference later this month, surely the take home point that any reader/viewer of the news bulletin will be left with is that the warmest day was long ago, and that there has been no significant warming these past 100 years.

Unfortunately, the take-home point that will be stressed is that it broke the record for JUNE.
An additional justification for Anthony’s posing these questions to the gov’t., rather than researching the answers himself, is that he will be able to firm-up his evidence because it came from the horse’s mouth–an official source. Readers won’t have the excuse that “That’s only HIS interpretation and HIS possibly-flawed research.”