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Media Try To Discredit Inconvenient Record Temperature In 1913

August 25, 2020

By Paul Homewood



A temperature of 54.4C (129.9F) has been recorded in California during an intense heatwave in what could be the hottest reading ever reliably taken on the planet.

An automated station for the United States National Weather Service at Furnace Creek in Death Valley recorded the extreme heat at 3.41pm on Sunday.

If verified, it would be the hottest weather since 56.6C (134F) was registered at the same place on 10 July 1913 – but the accuracy of that reading has long been disputed by experts.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) installed the 1913 reading as the Earth’s hottest after an investigation dismissed a temperature of 58C (136F), which was said to have been recorded in Libya in September 1922.

Another older reading of 55C (131F) taken in Tunisia in July 1931 has also been challenged.

In addition, the 1913 Death Valley heat has been questioned as "essentially not possible from a meteorological perspective".

Some experts believe modern readings of 54C (129F) at Death Valley on 30 June 2013 and in Kuwait in 2016 and Pakistan in 2017 are the most reliably recorded top temperatures on the planet. 

This story has been widely reported, so clearly it is being pushed hard by somebody.

Astonishingly however, the claim that the 1913 record is invalid is merely the personal opinion of just one man, the self appointed expert, Christopher Burt, former blogger for the unreliable Weather Underground.

Ranged against Burt’s opinion are the experts from the State Climate Extremes Committee, set up by NOAA to validate record temperature and rainfall measurements for every state in the US.

They have examined the 1913 measurement of 134F and found it to be perfectly valid:



So too, I understand, has the WMO. Yet Sky and most of the media would seem to prefer to take the opinion of a blogger over the experts.

There is one more element to the story. Sky claim:

Some experts believe modern readings of 54C (129F) at Death Valley on 30 June 2013 and in Kuwait in 2016 and Pakistan in 2017 are the most reliably recorded top temperatures on the planet.


However, as I pointed out last week, Death Valley also hit 129F back in July 1960:





But telling the public that what have been described as “insane temperatures” actually also occurred sixty years ago rather spoils the global warming narrative!

  1. jack broughton permalink
    August 25, 2020 4:51 pm

    Great example of Orwell’s “Who controls the past controls the present, and who controls the present controls the future”. Comparable to clever (unquestioned by the believers) Al Gorythms that have cooled the past so effectively.

  2. LeedsChris permalink
    August 25, 2020 4:56 pm

    There is a report by NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) that looks at a century of weather in Death Valley – full of detailed information about the location etc of weather stations in that location and a mass of detailed information about highest and lowest temps. There is an appendix that looks at the record temperature recorded in 1913 and although it notes that there have been questions about it (and whether blowing desert sand played a role) it concludes the record is sound. The report includes letters from the observer at that time. The url for this report is

  3. August 25, 2020 4:57 pm

    Curiously, July 1913 was solar minimum at the start of solar cycle 15, which turned out be a fairly short cycle of 10.1 years.

    The desperation to bury anything inconvenient in past climate records is just more evidence that the current climate hysteria over human CO2 emissions is all fake.

  4. manicbeancounter permalink
    August 25, 2020 5:01 pm

    Looking at the NOAA records by State (also Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico) two-thirds of the records were set prior to 1975, when the current warming phase began. The only ways that this reconciles with the claim of unprecedented global average temperature rise is if temperatures have become less extreme, or if the USA has mostly avoided the temperature rise of the rest of the planet.

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      August 25, 2020 5:33 pm

      Some claim warming is at night, apparently result of “heat island” effects. Thus, daily maximums are not any more extreme.
      Paul has likely posted on this (?), others have.
      _ _ _ _
      Very nice post, and thanks to LeedsChris for the link.

  5. Phoenix44 permalink
    August 25, 2020 5:28 pm

    So if the 1913 temperature wasn’t that high how high was it? Let’s say 55, so stil a bit hotter.

  6. Mad Mike permalink
    August 25, 2020 5:57 pm

    “essentially not possible from a meteorological perspective”. No explanation of why this is quoted, from whom or what it means. Jeez, I thought the BBC was bad.

    • mjr permalink
      August 26, 2020 10:37 am

      seems to be arguing that in the same way you cannot get lower than -273C (i.e. 0K) because of physical law , you cannot get hotter than 130c . It would be interesting to know on what basis this is stated

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 25, 2020 6:07 pm

    Yes, I pointed out on the original thread that the BBC went to great lengths to disparage the old records in their coverage.

    Now ‘some places’ in the UK have ‘provisionally’ recorded their ‘strongest ever’ gusts of wind for August – i.e. random non-envelope pushing gusts in places probably without any real long term history.

    No doubt more bogus climate chaos claims are about to be spouted by the BBC etc.

  8. Broadlands permalink
    August 25, 2020 6:24 pm

    But a relevant point is still missing? If it was that hot in 1913, and on into the 1930s, how could anthropogenic CO2 have been involved to create that warming that is today quickly attributed to it? It was pre-industrial back then.

  9. Rowland P permalink
    August 25, 2020 6:36 pm

    Records are there to be broken some time somewhere.

  10. August 25, 2020 10:01 pm

    Note that the new record temperature was recorded at 3.41pm precisely. Presumably modern temperatures are recorded continuously, whereas in 1913 they were done by eyeball twice a day by some poor guy in a big hat. It’s a bit like giving one shot putter or pole vaulter three goes and letting another one have as many goes as he likes until he beats the record.

    • I_am_not_a_robot permalink
      August 25, 2020 10:29 pm

      Yes, without disclosing the date at which they claim ‘reliable’ of temperature records began, the statement “hottest reading ever on the planet” is just spin.

  11. Martin permalink
    August 26, 2020 7:13 am

    Funny how the ‘unreliable’ records of the past are always unreliable too hot. Surely if they were unreliable they would be so in both directions?

  12. col1664 permalink
    August 26, 2020 8:26 am

    Great site Paul, I visit most days and find it very informative, but I think this from your piece above requires a little reflection:
    “Yet Sky and most of the media would seem to prefer to take the opinion of a blogger over the experts”.

    • C Lynch permalink
      August 26, 2020 10:12 am

      You’ll be holding your breath waiting for Sky to quote or rely on anything Paul has to say.

  13. John Cooknell permalink
    August 26, 2020 9:25 am

    Laura Tobin the GMB weather person pushed this heavily on TV.

    Climate Denier?

  14. Joe Public permalink
    August 26, 2020 3:48 pm

    It seems it’s not the actual measurements that count, but who reads them and what their agenda is.

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