Death Valley National Park incorporates 5,000 square miles in California’s Mojave Desert in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The range includes peaks which are 11,000 foot above sea level.
Badwater Basin is 28 feet below sea level. This area records an average rainfall of about 2 inches per year. Cooler, moisture-laden air from the Pacific rapidly dries and heats as it slides toward the valley floor, a process known as adiabatic warming.
Weather observations in the area date back to 1861 and official recordkeeping began in 1911 when the U.S. Weather Bureau established Furnace Creek Ranch.
On July 10, 1913, a maximum temperature of 134 degrees was recorded, remaining the hottest on record for the United States.