Death Valley, known for its extreme temperatures, marked the culmination of a record-warm summer by approaching some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Sunday. The National Weather Service predicted that Furnace Creek, located along the border of central California and Nevada, would reach 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.33 degrees Celsius).
While this falls short of the all-time record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.67 degrees Celsius) set in July 1913, it signifies the intensifying heatwave sweeping across the globe. Meteorologists attribute the extreme temperatures to global warming and a strong upper-level ridge of high pressure over the Western United States.
Death Valley’s Historical Significance
Death Valley has long held the distinction of being the hottest place on Earth. The scorching temperatures experienced in the valley are becoming more common due to global warming, according to Randy Ceverny of the World Meteorological Organization.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Long the hottest place on Earth, Death Valley put a sizzling exclamation point Sunday on a record warm summer that is baking nearly the entire globe by flirting with some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded, meteorologists said. https://t.co/BmHcS2SQSG
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) July 17, 2023
Although the accuracy of Death Valley’s 110-year-old temperature record has been debated, it remains an iconic location associated with extreme heat. The valley’s unique geography and uninhabited nature make it an ideal spot for measuring and recording high temperatures.
Heatwave Impact and Global Heatwave
The blistering temperatures in Death Valley are part of a larger heatwave impacting various regions across the United States. Approximately one-third of Americans are under heat advisories, watches, or warnings, with cities like Las Vegas on the verge of breaking all-time temperature records.
Heatwaves are not confined to the United States alone, as Europe experiences devastating heatwaves, and countries like India, Japan, and China grapple with scorching temperatures and severe flooding. June 2023 has already been declared the hottest June on record, increasing the likelihood that this year may become the hottest year globally since records began in the mid-19th century.
Climate Change and Human Influence
Scientists attribute the rising temperatures to long-term human-caused climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. The continuous release of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, traps heat in the atmosphere, contributing to the planet’s warming trend.
While natural climate patterns like El Nino and La Nina can cause temporary fluctuations in temperature, human-induced climate change is the primary driver of the record-breaking warmth observed worldwide. Experts suggest that the current El Nino cycle, which began recently and remains moderate, will likely amplify next year’s temperatures, leading to even hotter conditions.
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