A 90-year-old temperature recording in Libya has been overturned, making Death Valley the hottest place on earth.
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons ) BY STEVEN SPARKMAN ANCHOR LOGAN TITTLE The world has a new record holder for the hottest day ever recorded — and the discovery almost cost one scientist his life. Death Valley, California, is the new title holder. Scientists registered temperatures of 134 degrees there back in 1913. But for most of the next century, the Valley’s rightful title belonged to Libya. ( Video via National Geographic ) After in-depth study, the World Meteorological Organization decided a temperature reading of 136 degrees in El Azizia, Libya, was, for the record, bogus. That record had been on the books since the recording date in 1922. But experts had long been suspicious of the record. So the Organization began to investigate in 2010. ( American Meteorological Society ) Several facts convinced them the record was wrong. A writer for Our Amazing planet says “Essentially, the case likely boiled down to someone inexperienced incorrectly reading a thermometer that could easily be misread...” But that doesn’t mean overturning the 90-year-old record was easy. The team needed original documents, and most of those came from Libyan researcher Khalid Ibrahim El Fadli. As a result, El Fadli ran afoul of the Gaddafi government during the Libyan revolution. A writer for Weather Underground , who was involved with the study, says: “In early March, Gaddafi began airing long nightly rambling tirades on his government TV network. During one of these, he made an ominous reference to how NATO forces were using Libyan climate data to plan their assault on the country. … I must say, at that point, I--and the rest of the committee--thought El Fadli was a dead man.” El Fadli laid low until after the revolution. Still, he says his car came under gunfire one day on his way to morning prayers. He and his family ducked down and took off at top speed, escaping with their lives. Thanks to El Fadli’s work, Death Valley can now claim the title of hottest place on the planet. Weather Underground produced a documentary on the research, and a Death Valley park ranger says he’s happy his park is on top. ( Video via Weather Channel ) “There’s a big difference between first and second. To authoritatively be able to say this is the hottest spot on Earth, at least as recorded temperatures, is a big plus.” And in case Death Valley’s record is ever overturned, the next highest temperature on record — also Death Valley.