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Death Valley Is The Hottest Place On Earth (Once Again)

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Death Valley can once again bask in the triple-digit glow of being the earth's hottest place on record.

That title was challenged by a reading taken in a city on the tip of Libya called Al Aziziyah on Sept. 13, 1922. It claimed to have been 136.4 degree Fahrenheit, which beat out Greenland Ranch's 134-degree reading on July 10, 1913. But this year the Libyan record was officially thrown out, and the U.S.'s own 1913 Death Valley record stands.

The Libyan record was challenged by Christopher C. Burt, a meteorologist with Weather Underground in a blog post. It ended up being thrown out because the instruments used were questionable, the observer who made the read was inexperienced, the reading was anomalous for the region and compared to the other temperatures registered that day.

The investigation by the World Meteorological Organization, the climate agency of the United Nations, took about a year, in part because of the revolution that was going on in Libya around the same time. The official announcement of the new (old) record came on September 11, which was the same date of the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

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Now promotional information is being updated in Death Valley to note that it's not only the lowest place in North America but also the hottest place on earth—a point of pride. The New York Times notes that there is even talk of having an official 100-year celebration of the record next year.

So 134 degree days aren't common, but what does it feel like when the temperature hits 115 or even 125?

Charlie Callaghan, a Death Valley National Park ranger, told the Times: “You kind of get used to the 115s, the 120s. Once it gets above 120, 125, it’s just downright miserable. It’s just so excruciatingly hot. You don’t walk outside your air-conditioned car or your office. You don’t want to have jewelry on because you feel the burning on the ears. Your eyes, your eyebrows, feel real hot.”