July has been one for extreme heat around the world, but every locale pales in comparison to what’s going on at Death Valley in California. Already one of the hottest places on the Earth, the heat has gone into overdrive this July. Death Valley is in line to set a record for the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.
Last July, California’s Death Valley endured the hottest month ever measured on the planet. This July ended up even hotter. Over both day and night, the temperature at Death Valley averaged 42.3 degrees Celsius (108.1 Fahrenheit), ahead of the mark set a year ago (41.9°C or 107.4°F) by more than half-degree. That previous mark had broken a record that stood for 100 years.
Measurements are taken once daily when a volunteer moseys out to the weather station near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to check two thermometers that record the day’s high and low temperatures. The weather station has been functioning since 1961, though records for the area extend back to 1911 (the previous weather station was just 1,000 feet to the south). Of the five hottest months recorded at the site, four have occurred since 2005.
Well, you got it, buddy. But in all seriousness, the extremes at Death Valley are no joke. At least one visitor has died this month from the heat, underscoring that you need to take care of yourself and heed warning signs in hot weather.
July has been a month of wild heat waves that have engulfed the high Arctic, Japan, North Africa, and much of Europe. The atmospheric setup has also helped bake in July heat in some locations, including Death Valley. The jet stream has gone wild this month, resembling a series of waves. The troughs in the waves allow cooler air from the north to dip down, but the ridges allow hot air to build up. That’s what we’ve seen in Death Valley
As the calendar turns to August, it appears the waviness could finally break, over the Southwest at least. With luck, you will even get this weekend cooler temperatures that could even dip below average next week. So, you may want to wait a few days before visiting the Death Valley.