The historic numbers come in the midst of a massive heat wave gripping the West Coast

By Claudia Harmata
August 17, 2020 11:38 AM
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Death Valley
Credit: Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto via Getty

California's Death Valley reached record-high temperatures over the weekend at a scorching 130 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, possibly making it the hottest temperature recorded on the planet in more than 100 years.

"Per the climate data in xmACIS2, this is the first time since 1913 that Death Valley has reached 130F. In July 2013, it last reached 129F. If valid, it would be the hottest August temperature at the site by 3F," the agency tweeted on Sunday, along with the data.

If the temperature is verified, it would be among the top three highest temperatures to have ever been measured in Death Valley. It would also become the highest temperature ever seen in the area during the month of August.

“Everything I’ve seen so far indicates that is a legitimate observation,” Randy Cerveny, head of the World Meteorological Organization’s weather and climate extremes team, told The Washington Post about the latest data.

"I am recommending that the World Meteorological Organization preliminarily accept the observation," he added. "In the upcoming weeks, we will, of course, be examining it in detail, along with the U.S. National Climate Extremes Committee, using one of our international evaluation teams."

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Per Guinness World Records, Death Valley already holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded on the planet at 134 degrees on July 10, 1913.

However, this measurement has been disputed among climatologists — most famously by Christopher Burt, who conducted a study in 2016 and concluded the temperature was “essentially not possible from a meteorological perspective," according to the Post.

Subsequently, many experts reportedly consider the three 129-degree readings recorded in Death Valley (2013), Kuwait (2016) and in Pakistan (2017) as the highest ever measured on the planet.

Sunday's reading in Death Valley would surpass them if verified.

The historic numbers come in the midst of a massive heat wave gripping the West Coast. According to CBS, several cities reported all-time high August temperatures over the weekend, and will continue to feel the heat for the next 10 days.

Oakland, California, hit 100 degrees for the first time in August on Friday, according to the Post, while Needles soared to 123 degrees on Saturday, breaking its previous August temperature record of 118 degrees in 2019, the National Weather Service Said.

Phoenix tied its highest temperature for the month of August with 117 degree heat on Friday.