19 votes

Death Valley soars to 130°F/54.4°C, potentially Earth’s highest temperature since at least 1931

5 comments

  1. [2]
    Qis
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    My mother took us on a trip up Mount Whitney, which is the Californian highpoint and actually the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. We hung out and did little hikes for a few days to...

    My mother took us on a trip up Mount Whitney, which is the Californian highpoint and actually the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. We hung out and did little hikes for a few days to acclimate to the altitude then planned to ascend Whitney through a three day sequence; first up to a camp, then up to the summit and back to the camp on day 2, then hike out on day 3 -- but news of a thunderstorm changed our plans. Our guide suggested that we could try the whole ascent in one day that started at 2am and ran late. The dawn through the canyon was amazing, but we had to turn around just before the final ascent because it was too technical for us and we were pretty tired -- and it's really lucky we did, because what happened next was my mother abruptly lost her eyesight. She had, we found out later, an allergic reaction to the diamox (altitude sickness aid) she had been taking which caused her eyes to bulge ("corneal edema") and then when she got a little bit of sand in her eye it gave her a massive and painful abrasion. We hiked out for six hours with my mother blindly hanging on to the back of my pack as we descended the canyon wall, and only barely escaped the mountain before we lost all light at ~8pm. She's a trooper though. She was pretty wigged out by the time we got outta there and had started to rant about needing more electrolytes, so she made us stop to get her a milkshake from a Dairy Queen before we finally got her to the local hospital.

    She got her eyesight back within a day of recovery but anyway she felt so guilty for having "ruined the trip" that she insisted that we could drive through Death Valley to hit the continental lowpoint instead which is only a few miles away from Mt Whitney -- in the middle of August, on the hottest day of the year. We literally could not look at the bit of ground we had gone to visit, the heat radiating off it was so unbearable. We also stopped at the world's worst Quiznos where they had no vegetables left so I was served a meatball sub which I did not enjoy.

    13 votes
    1. determinism
      Link Parent
      If you had made it to the top, you would have then visited the world's best Quiznos.

      If you had made it to the top, you would have then visited the world's best Quiznos.

      7 votes
  2. Qis
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    This is only mostly related to the record being reported in this article, but one of the most frightening effects for climate change is the increased possibility of disastrous heat waves with high...

    This is only mostly related to the record being reported in this article, but one of the most frightening effects for climate change is the increased possibility of disastrous heat waves with high humidity, which can be fatal to humans when the effectiveness of sweat evaporation is reduced to a point where we have no means to cool our bodies. Above a certain ratio it does not matter how much water you have onhand, heat will kill you -- and in places without sufficiently regulated shelter we may see large die-offs.

    9 votes
  3. rish
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    That's 54.45° C in centigrade. Death Valley also holds the highest temperature ever reported 56.67° C but the article say the claim is disputed now.

    That's 54.45° C in centigrade.

    Death Valley also holds the highest temperature ever reported 56.67° C but the article say the claim is disputed now.

    This record was set on July 10, 1913. However, that measurement is very much in question; an extensive analysis of that record conducted in 2016 by Christopher Burt, an expert on extreme weather data, concluded it was “essentially not possible from a meteorological perspective.” Some climatologists consider 129-degree readings recorded in Death Valley on June 30, 2013, and in Kuwait and Pakistan in 2016 and 2017, respectively, as the highest ever reliably measured on the planet

    7 votes
  4. Kuromantis
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    I think it's worth noting this heat wave is not just limited to Death Valley. (That's 37.8, 47.2, 50.5, 44.4 and 43.3 respectively.)

    I think it's worth noting this heat wave is not just limited to Death Valley.

    On Friday, Oakland, Calif., hit 100 for the first time on record in August, while Phoenix tied its highest temperature for the month: 117 degrees.

    Then on Saturday, Needles, in California’s southeastern desert, soared to 123 degrees, its highest August temperature on record.

    Sacramento rocketed to 112 degrees Sunday, topping its previous August record of 110.

    (That's 37.8, 47.2, 50.5, 44.4 and 43.3 respectively.)

    The heat has intensified a rash of fires that have erupted in recent days. A blaze in northeastern California, between Redding and Reno (NV), spawned a swarm of fire tornadoes prompting what is believed to be the first-ever issued fire tornado warning by the National Weather Service.

    7 votes