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Park rangers spark controversy with viral photo taken in Death Valley: ‘I just want to know why they are smiling’

Death Valley approached its record temperature again this year, falling just barely short at 132 degrees Fahrenheit.

Park rangers spark controversy with viral photo taken in Death Valley

Photo Credit: iStock

California’s Death Valley approached record-breaking temperatures in July, drawing a crowd of excited tourists and even park rangers — but commenters on a highly-viewed Reddit post were much more unhappy with the event.

The post, which was shared on r/facepalm, is a photo of two smiling park rangers next to a large thermometer display that showed the park’s temperature as it hit 132 degrees. The post’s caption read, “This is like dinosaurs having their picture taken with an asteroid.” 

Death Valley park rangers
Photo Credit: u/CaptainWisconsin / Reddit

The National Park Service lists Death Valley National Park as the largest of the national parks outside Alaska at over three million acres of desert and salt flats. Yahoo News reported that it’s widely considered the hottest place on Earth, with a record high temperature of 134 degrees measured in 1913.

The average temperature of the Earth is rising due to heat-trapping air pollution in the atmosphere. Experts predict that we may be in for the hottest temperatures in history over the next five years. 

Given those conditions, it’s not surprising that Death Valley approached its record temperature again this year, falling just barely short at 132 degrees, Yahoo News reported.

Despite warnings on the National Park Service website that advise against hiking in Death Valley during the summer, visitors streamed to the park to witness the baking heat, Yahoo News reported.

Heat stress from being in extremely hot environments is dangerous. It can cause dehydration and heat stroke, as well as making existing health problems worse.

Experts predict that more and more areas of the world are going to start experiencing dangerous heat thanks to the shifting climate. While humidity paired with heat is even harder to deal with, dry heat, like the conditions in Death Valley, presents its own problems.

This is why some Redditors pointed out that this heat wave is hardly something to celebrate.

“I just want to know how they are smiling,” one user wrote

“They must be some kind of superhuman to not be drenched in sweat,” another Redditor said.

“They’re not drenched in sweat for the exact same reason that makes dry heat so incredibly dangerous,” another user corrected. “Dry heat means your sweat is being evaporated instantly. It comes at the cost of just killing you from dehydration extremely fast … If you do not get shade and you do not get water, you’re just dead.”

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