The Physics Factbook™
Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students
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|On 13 September 1922, a temperature of 58 °C (136.4 °F) was purportedly recorded at El Azizia (approximately 40 kilometers south-southwest of Tripoli) in what is now modern-day Libya…. [T]he WMO World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes has rejected this temperature extreme of 58 °C as the highest temperature officially recorded on the planet. The WMO assessment is that the highest recorded surface temperature of 56.7 °C (134 °F) was measured on 10 July 1913 at 46 Greenland Ranch (Death Valley) CA USA.||Khalid Ibrahim El Fadli, et al. World Meteorological Organization Assessment of the Purported World Record 58 °C Temperature Extreme at El Azizia, Libya (13 September 1922). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. "Early Online Release" accessed 2013/01/06.||56.7 °C|
Editor's Supplement -- 2013
|Guinness Book of World Records. 1999: 250.||"Between 1960 and 1966, the highest average annual mean temperature in Dallol, Ethiopia was recorded at 94 °F"||34.4 °C
|Recorded Weather Extremes. Infoplease Almanac.||"Highest average annual mean temperature (world): Dallol, Ethiopia (Oct. 1960-Dec. 1966), 94 °F (35 °C). (US): Key West, Fla. (30-year normal), 78.2 °F (25.7 °C)."||35 °C
|"Hottest summer average in Western Hemisphere (US): Death Valley, Calif., 98 °F (36.7 °C)."||36.7 °C
|"Longest hot spell (world): Marble Bar, W. Australia, 100 °F (38 °C) (or above) for 162 consecutive days, Oct. 30, 1923 to Apr. 7, 1924."||38 °C
|The Highest Temperature Extremes. Infoplease Almanac.||"Greenland Ranch, California, with 134 °F on July 10, 1913, holds the record for the highest temperature ever officially observed in the United States."||56.7 °C|
|"The highest annual normal (1941-1970 mean) temperature in the United States, 78.2 °F, and the highest summer (June-August) normal temperature, 92.8 °F, are for Death Valley, California."||25.7 °C
|"The highest winter (December-February) normal temperature is 72.8° F for Honolulu, Hawaii."||22.7 °C
|Highest Recorded Temperatures. Infoplease Almanac.||[see table 1]||-14–58 °C|
|Weather World Extremes. Weather World. Penn State University.||"Hottest [Temperature]
110F (Mar 23) Kayes, Mali (14N/11W)
109F (Mar 27) Birao, Central African Rep. (10N/23E)"
The temperature of an area depends on the strength of the sun's rays, which is determined by the angle at which the rays hit the earth. The earth's temperature is hotter at the equator and colder at the poles because of the difference in the angle of the sun's rays. Since the earth is round, the sun's rays hit different areas at different angles; the higher the latitude the more slanted are the sun's rays. In tropical or lower latitude areas the sun stays more or less overhead throughout the year. Since direct rays provide more heat than rays at an angle, the tropics receive the most heat and have the warmest average temperatures.
Libya is the fourth largest state in Africa and is located close to the equator. Libya consists almost entirely of hot, arid desert. Due to its lack of natural barriers, Libya's climate is greatly influenced by the desert to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. In Tripoli, average highs are 30 °C in summer andaverage lows are 8 °C in winter [see editor's note below]. A scorching wind called the "ghibli"(a hot, very dry, sand laden wind) can raise the temperatures in a matter of hours to between 40 °C and 50 °C. The hottest recorded temperature ever on earth was in Libya on September 13, 1922, which was 58 °C.
Libya, Algeria, Death Valley and Iraq have some of the hottest temperatures on earth. During the summer, they have some of the hottest weather in the world. In contrast with these hot countries, the highest recorded temperature ever in the South Pole was on December 27, 1978, which was -14 °C. Despite the highest recorded weather extremes being in Libya, Algeria, Death Valley, and Iraq, the highest average annual mean world temperature was in Dallol, Ethiopia from October 1960 to December 1966, which was 35 °C.
|World (Africa)||El Azizia, Libya||Sept. 13, 1922||136||58|
|North America (US)||Death Valley, Calif.||July 10, 1913||134||57|
|Asia||Tirat Tsvi, Israel||June 21, 1942||129||54|
|Australia||Cloncurry, Queensland||Jan. 16, 1889||128||53|
|Europe||Seville, Spain||Aug. 4, 1881||122||50|
|South America||Rivadavia, Argentina||Dec. 11, 1905||120||49|
|Canada||Midale and Yellow Grass,
|July 5, 1937||113||45|
|Persian Gulf (sea-surface)||Aug. 5, 1924||96||36|
|Antarctica||Vanda Station||Jan. 5, 1974||59||15|
|South Pole||Dec. 27, 1978||7.5||-14|
Lana Koroleva -- 2000
|"Death Valley." Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. CD-ROM.Compton's, 1995.||"… the scorching heat reached 134 °F."||56.7 °C|
|"Death Valley." Encarta.CD-ROM. Redmond, WA: Microsoft, 1996.||"… the National Weather Service recorded 56.7 °C in 1913."||56.7 °C|
|"Death Valley." World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book Corporation, 1999: 62.||"134 °F was reported there on July 10, 1913"||56.7 °C|
|"The Natural World." Guinness Book of World Records. Guinness, 1999: 250.||"Temperatures of over 120 °F were recorded in Death Valley, California on 43 consecutive days."||> 48 °C|
The hottest temperature in the United States ever recorded most likely occurred in Death Valley, California during 43 consecutive days between July 6 and August 17, 1917. During those days, the temperature was over 48 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). The national weather service recorded 56.7 °C (134 °F). The date reported there was July 10, 1913.
The temperature of a certain area depends upon a set of conditions that are called climate controls. these controls include latitude, altitude, topography, distance from large bodies of water, and nearby ocean currents. All these factors added up together created the circumstance to reach such a high temperature.
Death Valley lies mostly in eastern-central California. It was named Death Valley by one of eighteen survivors of a party of thirty attempting in 1849 to find a shortcut to the California gold fields. In terms of latitude is it located at about 35 degrees North, so it is in a good location for large amounts of sunlight. It is considered a middle latitude region.
In terms of altitude, the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere is in Death Valley. Generally, the lower the elevation, the higher the temperature. The elevation in the lowest point is 86 meters below sea level.
In terms of topography, Death Valley is a harsh desert with an average of 5 cm of rain a year. there are no nearby bodies of water, thus, no ocean currents.
Death Valley is about 209 kilometers long and 10 to 23 kilometers wide. Despite all these harsh conditions, several animals, such as toads, lizards and plants (like grass and cactus), are found there.
Mike Levin -- 2000
Climate data from www.climatedata.com. (What an appropriate name.)
Tripoli City, Libya
Average Maximum Temperature
Average Minimum Temperature
Average Maximum Temperature
Average Minimum Temperature
Editor's Supplement -- 2002
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