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Suffering the heat wave? Here are the top 10 hottest places on Earth right now

Record-breaking heat waves have been hitting the northern hemisphere with no mercy this summer. But while this heatwave is hitting places that do not normally see temperatures this high for extended periods, there are other areas in the world where the air heat is extreme every summer day, where it almost never rains, and/or there isn’t really a relief — areas that are inhospitable and barely habitable —if habitable at all. These are ten of the hottest places on Earth.

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DeathValley Dunes
Wikimedia Commons

Death Valley is a desert valley located in the northern Mojave Desert, Eastern California, USA. It is the driest place in North America in part because it is situated in the rain shadow of four mountain ranges, which blocks precipitation and vegetation growth. And it is one of the hottest places in the world partly because its high steep valley walls trap hot air in the valley floor instead of releasing it. As the sun reheats air masses, Death Valley’s temperature increases.

Although some meteorologists strongly dispute the measurement, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the hottest air temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134°F (57°C) on July 10, 1913, in a village called Furnace Creek, where the headquarter of the Death Valley National Park is located. This is one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth. Death Valley’s Furnace Creek also holds the official record for the highest ground temperature in the world, with 201.0 °F (93.9 °C) registered on July 15, 1972. The 1913 air temperature was exceeded in 2020 and 2022, but those higher figures have not yet been certified by the WMO.

This small town located 25 miles (41 km) southwest of Tripoli registered an extreme temperature of 136?F (58?C) on 13 September 1922. This was the world record until 2012 when an investigation by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) invalidated the measurement. 

However, Aziziya is still one of the hottest places on Earth because, in the summer, it often reaches 120?F (48?C). 

3) Ghadames, Libya

Park al touta in Ghadames City.
Wikimedia Commons

If Death Valley’s records were officially invalidated, the record for the hottest temperature recorded in an inhabited place would likely go back to Libya, more specifically to the oasis town of Ghadames, located 287 miles (462 km) southwest of Tripoli. 

Ghadames has long, hot summers with an average temperature of 105?F (41?C) in July. The highest temperature ever recorded in Ghadames is 131?F (55?C) —the same as Tunisian oasis town Kebili, another place considered to be one of the hottest on Earth. Although both of these records are disputed, due partly to possible recording errors. 

4) Dallol, Ethiopia

Dallol is a volcanic crater located 430 feet (130 meters) below sea level in the Danakil Depression, the northern part of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia. Dallol is known for its hot springs, which discharge hyper-saline and hyper-acidic brine.

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The area is full of sulfur ponds, salt deposits, small geysers, rimstone formations, and noble gases emitted from active springs and fumaroles. 

Overall, Dallol’s colorful landscape can be described as unearthly. 

 Dallol’s terrestrial hydrothermal system is situated around a cinder cone volcano, which makes the area very hot. The area has an annual average high temperature of 105.4?F (41.2 °C), with temperatures in the hottest month reaching 116?F (46.7?C). 

Dallol is also the name of a mining settlement that was installed near the hot springs. The village is now abandoned, but when it was inhabited from 1960 to 1966, it held the record for the highest average year-round temperature for an inhabited location: 94.3?F (34.6?C). Dallol is also the place with the hottest average year-round air temperatures.  

The highest temperature ever recorded in Dallol was 121?F (49 °C). 

While Dallol had the highest average year-round temperature for an inhabited location in the 1960s, today that distinction likely goes to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It has an average annual temperature of 87.3?F (30°C). In summer, temperatures can reach highs of 118.4?F (48°C). Jazan City, Saudi Arabia, has very similar annual average temperatures.

5) Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

Cave of the Crystals.
Wikimedia Commons

 

This cave is located in the town of Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico, at a depth of 980 feet (300 meters). It is like an underground chamber containing some of the largest natural crystals ever found, including 10-meter-long selenite crystals. The cave is also located over an intrusion of magma, which makes the temperature very hot and humid. 

The cave remains mostly unexplored due to air temperatures of 136?F (58?C) with 90-99% of humidity —an unbearable hell that does not allow unprotected people to remain there for longer than ten minutes. 

The cave is not accessible right now, but when it was, it required visitors and researchers to wear a special cooling suit and a mask to help them breathe.

6) Araouane, Mali 

Araouane is a small village in the Malian part of the Sahara Desert. That is the western part of the Sahara Desert — one of the hottest areas on Earth. 

In Araouane, it is extremely hot for around six months each year (from April to September), with average daily temperatures above 102?F (39°C) and peaks of up to around 115?F (46.6?C). The hottest month of the year in Araouane is June, with an average high of 107.6?F (42°C) and an average low of 84.2?F (29°C).

In the summer of 1945, Araouane had the highest temperature ever recorded there, 130? F (54?C), although it has been claimed that these measurements used types of thermometers and shelters that would not be accepted today.

7) Timbuktu, Mali

Timbuktu is a city in Mali that is hot all year round. 

The hot season runs from April to early July, with an average daily high temperature above 102.2?F (39°C). The hottest month of the year in Timbuktu is June, with an average high of 105.8?F (41°C) and an average low of 84.2?F (29°C).

The cool season is from December to early February, with an average daily high temperature around 86?F (30°C) or below. The coldest month of the year in Timbuktu is January, with an average low of 57.2?F (14°C) and an average high of 82.4?F (28°C). 

The highest temperature recorded in Timbuktu was 130?F (54.5?C), although this involved the use of types of thermometers and shelters that would not be accepted today. 

8) Tirat Zvi, Israel

Tirat Zvi
Wikimedia Commons

Tirat Zvi is an agricultural community located west of the Jordan river, near the Israel-Jordan border. It is located 720 feet (220 meters) below sea level and recorded the highest-ever daytime temperature in Asia on June 21st, 1942. Although the validity of the measurement is questioned, the thermometer apparently showed 129?F (54?C) that day. 

Very similar temperatures were later recorded in Mitribah, a weather station in northwest Kuwait, on July 21st, 2016; and at Ahvaz, Iran, on June 29th, 2017.

9) Oodnadatta, Australia

Oodnadatta is a small, remote outback town in South Australia that has had the highest reliably measured maximum temperature in Australia. The record was 123.3?F (50.7?C) on January 2nd, 1960. 

According to the World Meteorological Organization's Global Weather & Climate Extremes Archive, that was the highest temperature recorded in the Southern Hemisphere in 1960. However, the same temperature was also measured on January 13, 2022, at Onslow, Western Australia. Onslow was joined by Roebourne airport and Mardie, which both hit 122.9?F (50.5?C). 

10) Lut Desert, Iran

The Lut Desert in Kerman Province, Iran.
Wikimedia Commons

The Dasht-e Lut or Lut Desert is an uninhabited salt desert in Iran that may now hold the record for having the hottest surface temperature on Earth: 177.4°F (80.8°C) in 2018. The following year, part of the Sonoran Desert along the Mexican-U.S. border apparently hit the same high.

These temperatures were measured by the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) installed on NASA's Aqua satellite. Recent software improvements have sharpened MODIS's resolution, making it possible to hone in on extremely hot spots. 

These ultra-hot ground temperatures are only in a small area, and the air temperatures are lower, but still, the Lut Desert may now be the most inhospitable area on the planet. In fact, its Persian name means “toasted wheat”, and it refers to a local legend that tells that a load of wheat was left in the desert by accident and was rapidly scorched by the heat.

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 12/9/2022

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