10th July, 2021
Death Valley in the California Desert, United States reached a near-record-breaking 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) on Friday, living true to its reputation as the hottest place on Earth.
The new record makes it a tie for the hottest temperature ever verified on Earth since the mercury hit 131 F (55 C) on July 7, 1931, in Kebili, Tunisia, The Washington Post reported.
Though an even hotter temperature of 134 F (56.7 C) was recorded in Furnace Creek (then called Greenland Ranch) in Death Valley, on July 10, 1913, per Guinness World Records, some climate scientists say that reading was not verified, the Post said.
On Aug. 16, Death Valley also smashed heat records with a 130-F reading, Live Science reported at the time.
No stranger to extremes, Death Valley is one of the hottest and driest places on Earth due to the shape of the valley and its location relative to mountain ranges.
For instance, as storms move inland from the Pacific Ocean, they pass over mountain ranges on the eastward trek; vapor-dense storm clouds hit the ranges, rise up and cool, leading to condensation and of course rain or snow.
When the clouds reach the other side of the mountains, they have much less moisture, something called a dry rainshadow, according to the National Park Service (NPS). With four mountain ranges between Death Valley and the ocean, clouds tend to be parched by the time they reach the desert.
These mountain ranges also act as walls around the narrow Death Valley basin, which sits below sea level. When sunlight heats up the valley’s dry surface, the radiation gets trapped by these steep “walls,” the NPS said.
Reported by livescience.com