09/22/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/22/2020 18:38
DEATH VALLEY, CA - Over the summer of 2020, numerous heat records were broken, as the park experienced what may be some the hottest days ever recorded on Earth.
This meteorological summer (June-August) had an average (day and night combined) temperature of 102.7. This makes 2020 the 4th hottest summer on record, following 2018 (1st), 2017 (2nd), and 2016 (3rd) and marking a continued record of a changing climate.
2020 heat highlights to date:
Living in such an extreme environment requires certain precautions and adjustments for park staff and the local communities:
There are stretches of roadways where signs are posted recommending that air conditioning be shut off to avoid car engines overheating. As vehicles leave the extreme heat of the lower valleys and climb over mountain passes, overheated engines are a real risk. This summer saw two vehicle fires as a result of overheated engines, and numerous vehicle breakdowns. Turning off air conditioning might be uncomfortable but reduces the exertion of the engine.
'Death Valley National Park is known for its extreme temperatures, and this year certainly didn't disappoint when it comes to heat!' said Superintendent Mike Reynolds. 'It is exciting to live and work in a place that is literally the hottest place on Earth. I'm proud to work with a resilient team of employees who have chosen to embrace the heat and carry out the mission of the National Park Service here.'
Heat tourism brings visitors to the park to experience these extreme conditions. With this there were multiple search and rescues, and tragically also visitor fatalities where heat was a likely factor. Limiting time outside of air conditioning to just a few minutes at a time can help lead to a safer summer visit.
As we move into the fall season and other areas of the nation start cooling down, we would like to remind visitors that Death Valley National Park is still seeing temperatures over 110 degrees, and the park usually continues to have temperatures in excess of 100 degrees well into October. Trip-planning resources can be found on the park's website to help visitors plan and prepare for safe and memorable visits to the park.