Highest theoretical temperature on Earth

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I had read somewhere that this value is 130 °F at sea level (and thus the 134 °F one at Death Valley back in 1913 is suspect). Is there some paper that explains how this figure was derived?
 

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  • #2
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This is nonsense. Maybe the highest measured (56,7 °C on 7/10/13), but definitely not the highest theoretically possible. For one we have created much, much higher temperatures in the lab, and for two: just wait another two billion years and ask again. And if we continue to organize the planet as we do, earth will become Venus like far earlier.

And measured ground temperatures are far higher.
 
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  • #3
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It is a high value for recorded ambient temperature, not something derived.
Certainly there are restrictions as to what counts as 'ambient' since my oven is currently hotter than that, and the temperature in a volcano tops that by an order of magnitude.
 
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This is nonsense. Maybe the highest measured (56,7 °C on 7/10/13), but definitely not the highest theoretically possible. For one we have created much, much higher temperatures in the lab, and for two: just wait another two billion years and ask again. And if we continue to organize the planet as we do, earth will become Venus like far earlier.

And measured ground temperatures are far higher.
Is Mt. Everest the highest point on earth.
That could classify as the "highest" temperature.
But then again, that is really pushing the envelope.
:biggrin:
 
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I had read somewhere that this value is 130 °F at sea level (and thus the 134 °F one at Death Valley back in 1913 is suspect). Is there some paper that explains how this figure was derived?
I found this:
https://www.wunderground.com/blog/w...th-valleys-134f-world-temperature-record.html
which quotes this:
Occurrence of High Temperatures at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, by Llewelyn Williams
https://www.jstor.org/stable/2561652?seq=1
The main idea is that surface temperatures will be limited by the temperatures at mid levels, and the elevation and the dry adiabatic lapse rate. This makes it really hard for the temperature at Death Valley to be 18 F above the average july maximum and only 11 F or less above the July maximum in neighbouring stations.
Convection would destroy such a hot spot.
 
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  • #7
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This is nonsense. Maybe the highest measured (56,7 °C on 7/10/13), but definitely not the highest theoretically possible. For one we have created much, much higher temperatures in the lab, and for two: just wait another two billion years and ask again. And if we continue to organize the planet as we do, earth will become Venus like far earlier.

And measured ground temperatures are far higher.
Uh, I was referring to the highest meteorological temperature under today's conditions, not the highest that could be obtained under artificial conditions.
 
  • #8
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The air temperature can not be infinite, but I see no way to pin it down to a defined number. Don't confuse unlimited with undefined.
 
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In two billion years you have naturally a few hundred degrees. The question is inaccurate for many reasons. What you appear to mean is what WMO confirms as measurements. And then we are still in what had actually been measured, not what is possible.
 
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  • #10
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Uh, I was referring to the highest meteorological temperature under today's conditions, not the highest that could be obtained under artificial conditions.
That's not what your subject line said. As I think you can see from this thread, you need to be clear in your questions if you expect to get answers that tell you what you want to know.
 
  • #11
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According to the USGS, "The eruption temperature of Kīlauea lava is about 1,170 degrees Celsius (2,140 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature of the lava in the tubes is about 1,250 degrees Celsius (2,200 degrees Fahrenheit)." Ref: https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-hot-a-hawaiian-volcano

But one is probably referring to a surface temperature from heating by the sun.

According to the Weather and Climate Extremes archive, the hottest temperature ever recorded was in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California at 56.7°C on 10 July 1913. The highest temperature for the Eastern hemisphere was set in July 1931 in Kebili, Tunisia, at 55.0°C. Some weather historians have questioned the accuracy of old temperature records. The WMO Archive for Weather & Climate Extremes is always willing to investigate any past extreme record when new credible evidence is presented.
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/pre...rd-and-4th-hottest-temperature-recorded-earth
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/joc.6132

https://wmo.asu.edu/content/world-highest-temperature

Temperature of lightning can be quite high. "Air is a very poor conductor of electricity and gets extremely hot when lightning passes through it. In fact, lightning can heat the air it passes through to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5 times hotter than the surface of the sun)."
https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning-temperature
 
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  • #12
I would think the highest temperature of earth would be 211 degrees F because at 212 the oceans would begin to boil. Of course it is likely that the temperature would be even lower since water located above sea level will boil at lower temperatures. Therefore I would think that the boiling of large bodies of water at higher elevations would hold the earth at a slightly lower temperature until that water evaporates causing the atmosphere to expand and disperse in space. Once that water boiled off the earth, then the earth would theoreticly stop heating at 211 because it would take a very long time and lots of heat to cause our oceans to boil off.
 
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I would think the highest temperature of earth would be 211 degrees F because at 212 the oceans would begin to boil.
Irrelevant. Please read the subject line of the OP (and I'd suggest reading the rest of the thread as well). This thread is not about the highest temperature OF the Earth, it is about the highest temperature ON the Earth.
 
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  • #14
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Irrelevant. Please read the subject line of the OP (and I'd suggest reading the rest of the thread as well). This thread is not about the highest temperature OF the Earth, it is about the highest temperature ON the Earth.
I find it an interesting coincidence that @daniel dearment was correct about 212°F, but for the wrong reason.
I discovered this several years ago whilst designing a solar thermal heating system.
I can't remember the equations off the top of my head, but Wiki has a brief reference; "The theoretical maximum possible ground surface temperature has been estimated to be between 90 and 100 °C (between 194 and 212 °F) for dry, darkish soils of low thermal conductivity."

This is mainly a function of how much sunlight the Earth receives. If you enter 212°F into this blackbody calculator, you'll see that the radiant emittance is 1099.4 W/m2, which is very close to what the Earth's surface receives. Per wiki again; "global radiation on a horizontal surface at ground level is about 1120 W/m^2"
 
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  • #15
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The air temperature can not be infinite, but I see no way to pin it down to a defined number. Don't confuse unlimited with undefined.
That's not necessarily true, it depends on how you define temperature, which is an ensemble property.

If you can extract energy from the lower energy particles in a non Maxwellian system, for example, then the temperature will go up. If you define temperature as the change with respect to heat input/output, then you have a negative temperature, which can be construed as 'more than infinitely hot'.

This isn't my stuff/theorising, this is the proposals of Kittel and Kroemer (Nobel laureate)

See here, appendix E page 460.
https://www.academia.edu/38659920/Thermal_Physics_by_CHARLES_KITTEL_and_HERBERT_KROEMER
 
  • #16
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I had read somewhere that this value is 130 °F at sea level (and thus the 134 °F one at Death Valley back in 1913 is suspect). Is there some paper that explains how this figure was derived?
Not sure what you mean 'on Earth'?

You seem to be measuring air temperatures, in which case you should be aware that the thermosphere is of the order of 2,000C during the day.

If you 'do' mean air temperature but exclude the thermosphere then you're being very arbitrary with your definition? What height is permissible as a measurement?

If you 'don't' mean air temperature but surface temperature, then you mean the surface of something, and as you will be sure to know the surface of things can get very very hot if they are not cooled by flowing air, you can cook an egg on a car bonnet left out in the Sun. In theory, with good insulation and no moving air, a surface could theoretically reach an equilibrium with the incoming photons, so maybe 5,000K?

Do you wish to revise any part of your question, at this point?
 
  • #17
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Weather reports are based on a standard weather station. That standard specifies the height and shelter required by the instruments.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevenson_screen
The ground temperature can be quite different to the thermometers in the screen, which is 1.25 to 2 metre above the ground.

Do we know where and how the temperature measurement was made at Death Valley in 1913? Was the thermometer instrument identification recorded? Is the calibration certificate available?

I discount as “unscientific” any temperature measurement specified in Fahrenheit.
 
  • #18
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I had read somewhere that this value is 130 °F at sea level (and thus the 134 °F one at Death Valley back in 1913 is suspect). Is there some paper that explains how this figure was derived?
I saw the temperature 140 °F at Ft. Erwin, CA which is about 40 miles from Death Valley when I was there for part of my Basic Training in the Army. That was on the 3 mile long and 1 mile wide blacktop in the afternoon. The thermometer was in the sun. It was 125 °F in the shade when I arrived there. Our training for the 2 weeks I was there was before 10 AM and after 7 PM. 135 °F is not at all unusual on top of a haystack in Utah during midday.
 
  • #19
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Not sure what you mean 'on Earth'?

You seem to be measuring air temperatures, in which case you should be aware that the thermosphere is of the order of 2,000C during the day.

If you 'do' mean air temperature but exclude the thermosphere then you're being very arbitrary with your definition? What height is permissible as a measurement?

If you 'don't' mean air temperature but surface temperature, then you mean the surface of something, and as you will be sure to know the surface of things can get very very hot if they are not cooled by flowing air, you can cook an egg on a car bonnet left out in the Sun. In theory, with good insulation and no moving air, a surface could theoretically reach an equilibrium with the incoming photons, so maybe 5,000K?

Do you wish to revise any part of your question, at this point?
OK, I'll redo the question specifications.

What is the highest theoretical canonical meteorological temperature that is possible on Earth with current average atmosphere composition (and where humidity can be anything, although I would think that this highest temperature would be at 0% humidity) at sea level?

The term "canonical meteorological temperature" is as defined by weather organizations such as the American Weather Service for a valid meteorological temperature - which AIUI is the temperature of a space that is shaded and well ventilated.
 
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I can't remember the equations off the top of my head, but Wiki has a brief reference; "The theoretical maximum possible ground surface temperature has been estimated to be between 90 and 100 °C (between 194 and 212 °F) for dry, darkish soils of low thermal conductivity."
The reference is this paper:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/26186540?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

Which is also quoted by this one: https://journals.ametsoc.org/jas/article/54/4/498/24407
And this one: https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/j.1477-8696.2001.tb06577.x

Clearly the issue is that those high temperatures are ground or surface temperature, literally. Not the temperature from a few meters above ground station.
 
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  • #21
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First off Earth has had an atmosphere for while, like ~4 billion years. Your question does not make clear that you want the very highest possible air temperature on Earth. Today? When?

Instead us playing guessing games to get you up to speed:

Use your PC, NOT your phone, press the space bar to read transient information. Ready? Set? Go. Open the very nice video in this thread here
https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/terraforming-the-pre-earth-algols-video.992868/

We are spinning wheels a little too much. Thanks everyone for posting. Thread locked.
 
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