With all the discussion of global warming, a reasonable question to ask is how hot does the world get and where was the record hot spot for all, time.

One might  think that the hot spot was in the Middle East or Africa but after some questioning and debate, the

World Meteorological Organization has now proclaimed the hottest place in the history of the world was in Death Valley, California here in United States on July 13, 1913.

On July 10, 1913, a high temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded on Greenland Ranch near Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park

The record stood until September 13, 1922 when, El Aziza, Libya claimed a record high of 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, recently when WMO investigated this claim, it found 5 major problems with the Libyan data

Potentially problematic instrumentation (the Bellani-Six thermometer was already  obsolete at that time.)

A new and inexperienced observer probably incorrectly read the thermometer.

Unrepresentative microclimate site

Poor correspondence of the extreme to other locations

Poor comparison to subsequent temperature values

Death Valley temperature was investigated by Dr. Arnold Court in the 1940’s and determined to be valid.  So, the highest temperature recorded in the world was 134 degrees

in Death Valley – already famous for being a very hot place.


The valley was named “Death Valley” when a group of wagon train pioneers nearly perished before being saved by William Lewis Manly, a member of  the wagon train  As the

wagon train left then unnamed valley in 1849, a woman is said to have looked back, grateful to have escaped alive and uttered the words:  “Goodbye Death Valley”. The name stuck.


The story of this wagon train party of pioneers is told in the Listen2Read audiobook, “Death Valley in ’49” written by William Lewis Manly and read by Andre Stojka. It is a first

person account of his near death experience and an important document of American history.  “Death Valley in ’49” is an important recording in the Listen 2 Read

American Adventure Library.