GENEVA, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Libya has been stripped of its
title as the hottest place on earth and ceded the all-time
temperature record to Death Valley in California, which has
simmered in second place for 90 years.
After reassessing old records, the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) ruled on Thursday that the 134 degrees
Fahrenheit recorded in the summer of 1913 at Greenland Ranch in
Death Valley, California, should stand as the record.
Libya's claim to a temperature of 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit
(58 degrees Celsius), supposedly recorded at an Italian army
base in El Azizia on Sept 13, 1922, now appears overcooked.
"We found systematic errors in the 1922 reading," Randy
Cerveny, an Arizona State University professor who is
responsible for keeping worldwide weather records at the WMO,
said in a statement.
An investigation by an international team of specialists
found five major areas of doubt about the Libyan claim and
concluded that an untrained observer, who was consistently
entering the readings in the wrong column of the log, had
probably overstated the temperature.
The original readings were taken with a "Six-Bellini
thermometer", which was already obsolete at the time and had a
pointer that could easily be misread, introducing an error of as
much as 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 1922 measurements also seemed to be out of whack with
other values recorded nearby and in other years, raising
suspicions and encouraging the climate specialists to
"In the heart of every meteorologist and climatologist beats
the soul of a detective," said Cerveny.
(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)