Death Valley, a desert region in the U.S. along the border of California and Nevada, reached its hottest temperature in over a century this week. With a reading of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, that makes it the hottest day in the U.S. since the same Death Valley region reached 134 degrees in 1913.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, four out of the five hottest days ever recorded in the U.S. have been in the Southwest desert region. In 1994, Arizona had its hottest day of 128 degrees in Lake Havasu City, located directly in the Mojave Desert. Nevada, housing a small high-altitude portion of Death Valley, recorded its hottest day in Laughlin in the same year at 125 degrees. Bordering Arizona is New Mexico, which recorded a temperature of 122 degrees at a waste isolation pilot plant in 1936. Midwestern states North Dakota and Oklahoma matched New Mexico’s hottest day of 122 degrees in 1936.
Climate scientists are warning of increasingly hot summers for desert and plains regions in the U.S. and around the world. As global temperatures continue to steadily rise, drought and extreme heat waves are predicted to be more frequent.