By Anders Lorenzen
Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in California is one of the hottest places on Earth, and last week that name rang true as the air temperature reached 54.4 Celsius the highest air temperature measured since records began.
The temperature was recorded by the US National Weather Service in the sparsely populated Furnace Creek area which was in the middle of an extreme heat wave.This heat wave had been consuming much of the Western US
Furnace Creek has a population of just 24 people. According to Reuters, Brandi Stewart who’s a public information officer for Death Valley National Park hinted that the climate is changing in the region: “We are seeing more records being broken at a daily and monthly level. It is significant”, she said.
You have to go back more than one hundred years to 1913 to find similar temperature measurements. In 1913 Death Valley reportedly recorded 56.7C according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), although recent research by Christopher Burt, an extreme weather expert, some meteorologists suggest such a record could be the result of observer error.
Hot elsewhere too
Much of Europe has also been experiencing warmer than normal temperatures in July . Northern Spain has broken local heat records and in France wheat fields caught fire. Siberia in Russia is seeing unprecedented wildfires after experiencing an above normal mild spring, and in the Arctic, sea ice has shrunk to record-low due to melting as a result of warm spring and summer temperatures.
Just the beginning
The Death Valley temperature record is still to be verified, but it is very possible it will constitute a new global temperature record.
With climate change leading to more and more extreme weather events, only time will tell how long that record will hold.