Death Valley Hits 130 Degrees, Potentially Earth’s Hottest Temperature

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
Death Valley Hits 130 Degrees, Potentially Earth's Hottest TemperaturePA Images

Death Valley in California hit a whopping 130°F (54.4°C) yesterday, August 16, making it the hottest temperature on Earth in over a century.

If yesterday’s temperature is verified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration it will be the hottest ever August day America has seen.


The historic reading is part of a huge heatwave ravaging parts of the country, the West Coast in particular. Beginning before the weekend, the heatwave is reported to continue throughout today and tomorrow.

The hottest ever temperature on record was in 1913 when Death Valley reportedly hit 134°F (56.6°C); however this is being disputed with many experts questioning the reading’s reliability.

A 2016 survey by Weather Underground historian Christopher Burt found that the reading didn’t correlate with other Death Valley readings, reported CBS News. The valley is the hottest, driest and lowest part of the US.


Due to the valley’s unique landscape, daily readings are taken from several different observation sites within that area of the desert. During that week of 1913 other sites recorded temperatures of eight degrees above average, while the Death Valley site read as 18 degrees above average. Typically all the observation site readings correlate with one another, leaving experts questioning the reliability of that Death Valley reading from 107 years ago.

PA Images

With that in mind, the Earth’s hottest temperature ever ‘reliably recorded’ prior to yesterday’s Death Valley reading was in 2013 when the East California valley reached 129.2°F (54°C).

Journalist and meteorologist Bob Henson thinks that we may have a new record on our hands due to the 1913 reading’s lack of credibility.


Speaking to the American Geophysical Union, he said:

It’s quite possible the Death Valley high set a new global heat record. The extreme nature of the surrounding weather pattern makes such a reading plausible, so the case deserves a solid review. There are nagging questions about the validity of even hotter reports from Death Valley in 1913 and Tunisia in 1931. What we can say with high confidence is that, if confirmed, this is the highest temperature observed on Earth in almost a century.

PA Images

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The high temperature came as a shock to many as the days are shorter in the US come mid-August and the sun’s angle is lower making it less likely to see an all-time high temperature.


While it was reported that last decade was the hottest to ever be recorded, it looks like 2020 onwards could be giving that record a run for its money.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, California, Global Warming, Now, Record Breaking, temperature


CBS News and 1 other
  1. CBS News

    Death Valley reaches 130 degrees, hottest temperature in U.S. in at least 107 years

  2. American Geophysical Union

    Did We Break the Planetary Temperature Record Sunday? Probably So!