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'Hottest Place On Earth' Has Been Hit By Heatwave

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'Hottest Place On Earth' Has Been Hit By Heatwave

The 'hottest place on Earth' is currently experiencing a heatwave.

Death Valley in California, US, is often said to be the warmest location on the planet, and holds the record for the hottest day ever, with air temperatures having reached 134°F (57°C) at Furnace Creek on 10 July 1913.

However, while residents may not see this record broken very soon, forecasters have warned them to stay indoors over the coming days and only go out if they have to, as 'most outdoor activity is potentially life-threatening'.

According to AccuWeather, this week has seen the region come within just nine degrees of the record.

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Reporter Bill Wadell noted that temperatures had hit 106°F by 9am on Wednesday (16 June) and only went up.

According to the National Park Serivce, summer temperatures there usually top 120°F (49°C) in the shade with overnight lows dipping into the 90s°F (mid-30s°C).

But it's not the only place in the US that is currently experiencing unseasonal levels of heat, with temperatures between 10 and 30 degrees higher than usual in a number of other towns and cities.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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NBC reported this week that this has led to a number of records being broken in Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona and Southern California.

For example, Casper, Wyoming, broke its previous record of 93°F by nine degrees, while Chula Vista, California, saw its record surpassed by 13 degrees, taking its new record to 89°F.

Earlier this year, a study claimed that Death Valley might not actually be the hottest place on the planet after all.

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, found that surface temperatures were actually much higher in Iran's Lut Desert and the North American Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexican border, covering large parts of Arizona, California, and North-Western Mexico.

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While temperatures in Death Valley can reach 134.1°F (56.7°C), surface temperatures in these two other locations can reach heights of up to 177.4°F (80.8°C) - although researchers said the Lut Desert is more consistently hot.

Most previous studies of extreme temperatures have primarily honed in on atmospheric temperatures.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

But the new study - published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society - used 18 years of the latest version of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature (LST) data to 'globally investigate the spatial patterns of hot and cold extremes as well as diurnal temperature range (DTR)'.

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The authors write: "While the behaviour of the atmosphere in response to more anthropogenic emissions is well studied, the response of the land surface under different emission pathways is not well understood.

"It is hoped the future research in this direction can shed light on not only how extremes have changed in the past but how they will likely affect our planet in the future."

Lead author Yunxia Zhao of the University of California, Irvine, said it is unclear whether or not climate change is driving up surface temperatures.

However, ScienceMag reports Zhao to have said the Sonoran's highs coincided with La Niña, a climate oscillation featuring cooler surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean and drier desert conditions.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Weather, World News, heatwave, US News, Planet, california

Dominic Smithers
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