Today, NOAA is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 134° reading at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, including speakers, guests, and media coverage expected to begin at 11AM PDT, right about now. I find this fanfare odd, particularly in light of how understated the observer was when Mr. O.A. Denton recorded the temperature on the original paper B91 form, a photocopy of which you can see below:
The image above was released this morning on the NPS Death Valley Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DeathValleyNP
Oddly, it is an entirely different B91 form that NOAA/NWS placed on their “celebration page” under the “about the record” tab here: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/vef/deathvalley/
Why would there be two different paper records for the same month, one with remarks filled in and the other not? There are other clear differences also. One wonders why two paper records would be needed. Perhaps one was created for “official presentation”. Both forms appear to have identical layouts, but are filled out differently.
[added: Some commenters suggested a “carbon copy”. However, there are significant differences between the two, one is not a carbon of the other. For example “mean maximun” temperature is 116 on one form and 116.4 on another. The mean of max/min is 98.4 on one and 98.6 on another, with what looks like the .4 over written by the .6 And, as Mosher points out, the two forms have different handwriting. ]
Stranger though, that while they have time for this fanfare, neither the NOAA/NWS nor the NPS representatives have time to answers these questions about the record, which I posed to them last week in this email below.
Mr. Berc has since responded, but said he’d only answer my questions if I was present at the event, and when I replied that I would not be present, has offered no answers. Ms. Chipman has not replied.
From: Anthony Watts
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 8:10 AM
Subject: Death Valley 134 Celebration
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?
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?
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.