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Death Valley, Calif. officially recognized as world's hottest spot

The World Meteorological Organization says the title comes after it investigated a long-held record from El Azizia, Libya, and found that an inexperienced weather observer recorded the temperature incorrectly.

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Late afternoon light tints the mountains as two hikers trek across Stovepipe Wells sand dunes in Death Valley, Calif., in 2003.

Beatrice de Gea/Los Angeles Times/AP

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An international team of weather experts has named California'sDeath Valley the world's hottest place.

The World Meteorological Organization says the title comes after it investigated a long-held record from El Azizia, Libya, and found that an inexperienced weather observer recorded the temperature incorrectly.

The Libyan record was logged as 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit (58 Celsius) on Sept. 13, 1922 — 90 years ago Thursday. The new official highest recorded surface temperature is 136 degrees (57.8 Celsius) on July 10, 1913, in Death Valley.

The committee included experts from Libya, the United States, Egypt and other countries.

Experts say the Libyan record was set after the observer broke a more reliable instrument and used a complicated and less reliable type of thermometer. They believe the temperature was off by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit.


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