Our planet Earth can reach some really hot temperatures. From the scorching Sahara to the busiest cities, some of us have visited one of the hottest places in the world. Some locations can even go as high as over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Curious to find out where the hottest place on Earth is? Stick with us as we go through some of the hottest places on Earth by the highest recorded temperature.
Related Read: Coldest Places in the World.
The name “Death Valley” came from people who survived the harsh and hostile environment in the 19th century. Sadly, it has claimed the lives of some people as a result of dehydration and heatstroke.
The Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California, holds the highest recorded temperature, with up to 56.7 degrees Celsius or 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. This data is from the World Meteorological Organization's Global Weather & Climate Extremes Archive.
However, many years later, the organization concluded that the highest recorded temperature it claimed over the years was improperly recorded and was off by around 7°C. Despite the error, this small town in Death Valley.
According to National Park Services (NPS), this place reaches average temperature highs of 120°F (49°C). However, ground temperatures are higher. In 1972, the land surface temperature at Death Valley was recorded at 201 °F (93.9 °C), which is just a few degrees below boiling water.
El Azizia, or Aziziya, once held a previous record for the hottest temperature on Earth, surpassing Death Valley. However, the hottest temperature recorded as 136.4 °F (58.0 °C) in 1922 was considered invalid by the World Meteorological Organization in 2012 as it was not reliably recorded amongst other factors1.
Despite disapproval as the hottest place in the world, El Azizia is home to extreme heat, regularly exceeding 118.4°F (48°C) during summer. In addition to being one of the hottest places, El Azizia has golden sand dunes surrounding it and is located some miles south of Tripoli.
Residents do more activities, including shopping and socializing at night, and stay indoors in the middle of the day.
The name ‘Flaming Mountains’ already gives you a picture of why this location is one of the hottest places on Earth.
The Flaming Mountains are sandstone hills located in Xinjiang, China. It has a harsh climate and high Earthly temperatures that can reach 122°F (50°C) and above during the summer. According to reports, although unverified, this location surpassed 152.24°F (66.8°C) in land skin temperature in 2008.
The Chinese in this location try to beat the heat by using silk or bamboo clothing as clothes and even cover beds. Some people may also enjoy a cup of mung bean juice to cool their temperature.
Dallol, in the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia, is one of the hottest inhabited places. Surrounding this location are acidic hot springs, salt formations, and gas geysers.
The average daily maximum temperature was recorded as 106°F (41°C) with an annual mean temperature of 93°F (34°C) from 1960 to 1966, truly making it the highest average temperature of an inhabited place on Earth. It is also a remote location with roads still being built. One of their major modes of transportation is by camel.
In 1931, Kebili, located in Tunisia, held Africa's highest recorded temperature of 131°F (55°C). It is also the second-highest temperature recorded on Earth.
Kebili is well-known for being the foremost example of people inhabiting Tunisia over 200,000 years ago, making it one of Africa’s longest-inhabited places. Kebili was a significant slave hub and was once under Roman control.
The location has beautiful mud brick houses and palm trees where people can find shade. Beyond Kebili is the vast Chott el Djerid, the biggest Saharan salt pan.
Lut Desert, or Dasht-e Lut, located in Iran, is a massive salt desert and one of Earth's hottest places. According to satellite measurements from NASA, land skin temperatures (not air temperatures) in Dasht-e Lut were the hottest in the world, with the highest temperature at 159.26°F (70.7°C) in 2005. It is uninhabited and also one of the driest places on Earth.
Grandom Beryan, one of the hottest parts of Dasht-e Lut, is a huge plateau with dark lava. Its name, ‘toasted wheat,’ came from a local legend where people left some wheat out in the sun, and after a few days, the wheat roasted.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Oodnadatta is a location with the highest temperature that is recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. This means it is one of the hottest places on Earth, reaching 123.26°F (50.7°C) in January 1960. Oodnadatta is a town famous for being a base for camel riders and their animals decades ago.
Kuwait City, the beautiful capital of Kuwait, is one of the hottest places on Earth, particularly in the Middle East. During the summer, temperatures average above (114.8°F) 46°C. You find melting cars, sandstorms swirling, empty streets, and a scorching heat. Most residents in this city will only leave their homes for malls with very good air conditioning.
In the Northwest of Kuwait lies a weather station called Mitribah. It was the location for the third-highest temperature ever recorded on July 21, 2016, with temperatures reaching 129°F (53.9°C).
Mitribah is not only one of the hottest places on Earth but also the hottest place in Asia ever recorded.
Being the largest hot desert on Earth, the Sahara desert occupies much of North Africa2. It has a total area of 3,320,000 square miles (8,600,000 square km), with the Atlantic Ocean on the west.
The Sahara desert has harsh heat, direct sunlight, and little or no clouds, which allows thermal radiance. It has little to no rainfall, and whatever water is present evaporates at the quickest rate on Earth.
The average annual temperature in dry tropical regions of the Sahara desert is around 86°F (30°C). However, land surface temperatures, especially in higher elevations of the desert, could go as high as 168.8°F (76°C) during the summer.
During winter, it is a harmattan period with dry wind picking up sand and other dust particles.
Ghadames is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities and an oasis town in the middle of the desert in Northwestern Libya. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with huts protecting people from the scorching sun.
The average temperature goes as high as 40°C to 41 °C, making it one of the hottest places on Earth. While it is scorching during the summer, it is also quite warm during its short winter.
This old city in Iran is one the hottest places on Earth, with an air temperature recorded at 114.8°F (46°C), dew point at 89.6°F (32°C), and relative humidity at 49% in the city’s airport on July 31st, 2015.
Bandar-e Mahshahr also has a high heat index. A heat index is a combination of air temperature and relative humidity. This city has a heat index of 165.2°F (74°C), which is thought to be the second-highest heat index ever recorded, as reported by a Washington Post article.
On the shores of Lake Nubia in Sudan lies one of the hottest places on Earth. Wadi Halfa is a scorching city with a hot desert climate and little to no rainfall throughout the year. It sees the highest temperature in June, reaching 105.8°F (41 °C).
Timbuktu, one of the hottest places on Earth, is a city in Mali that is hot all year round. The hottest month in the city is June, with an average high of 104ºF (40°C) and an average low of 86ºF (30°C).
Although it involved using thermometers that wouldn't be acceptable today, the highest temperature recorded was 130ºF (54.5ºC).
Cave of the Crystals is an unexplored cave in Naica, Chihuahua town in Mexico. This underground cave has some of the largest natural crystals. The cave then lies over an intrusion of magma, which makes it very hot and humid.
Due to an air temperature of about 122°F (50ºC) and 90 to 99% humidity, staying in this cave longer than a few minutes is practically impossible.
It was formerly accessible and required explorers and scientists to wear a cooling suit and mask to help them breathe.
West of the Jordan River, close to the Israel-Jordan border, is an agricultural community called Tirat Zvi. Found 220 meters below sea level, this agricultural community is the largest date grower in Israel.
On June 21st, 1942, the thermometer measured the highest air temperature in daytime, showing 129ºF (54ºC).
Where the Blue and White Nile converge lies the capital of Sudan, Khartoum. Apart from being a sweltering city, it is also one of the hottest places in the world.
You experience the highest temperatures at two periods of the year: the late dry season, where average high temperatures surpass 40 °C (between April and June).
The second period is the early dry season, where average temperatures exceed 39°C (between September and October). The city has an annual mean temperature of around 30°C and very warm winters.
Bangkok in Thailand doesn't have record-breaking high temperatures. However, it has a consistently warm temperature all year round, making it one of the hottest places on Earth.
While other cities cool off at night, Bangkok has very little relief. Its annual low temperature is 71.6°F (22°C) and goes over 89.6°F (32°C) every month throughout the year.
In Bangkok, people try to cool off with fresh juices and boat transits. Water gun fights are also quite common in the city.
Mecca is Islam's Holy City and is a core part of the religion. Followers of the Islamic religion take a trip to Mecca at least once in their lives. This trip is called Hajj.
However, while Mecca is a holy city for Muslims, it is also one of the hottest cities in the world. During the summer, temperatures can go up to 122°F (50°C). This is bad news for Hajj pilgrims in Mecca who worship outside on the main day from sunrise to sunset.
Sadly, some of these pilgrims even die of sunstroke each year.
The Amazon is the biggest rainforest in the world and one of the hottest places.
The forest has lots of trees and shrubs. However, it is still incredibly humid and hot. This is because the forest is quite close to the equator. It has an average temperature of around 25 - 27°C with relative humidity between 77% and 88%.
Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California, is the hottest place on Earth ever recorded. It holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the world. On July 10, 1913, this area reached maximum temperatures of a blistering 56.7°C or 134°F.
At this time, technology was less advanced, and so many questioned the reliability of these figures. However, it is still one of the hottest places on Earth.
You can find Furnace Creek in a narrow basin in Death Valley enveloped by steep and tall mountain ranges.
Well, this is because of the cycle of heat that is trapped around the location. When the sun beats the rock and soil, it heats the surrounding air.
As the heated air rises, the mountains surrounding it sink the air back into the valley, where the air heats up again. As this cycle continues, it causes significantly hotter temperatures.
Yes. Despite holding the title of being the hottest place on Earth, some people live in this area all year round. Many of these people are employees working at local hotels and the National Park Service.
Interestingly, people who live here still socialize and carry out various activities outdoors. However, they may take some precautions during the summer to remain safe.
Living here may feel overwhelming if you’ve not stayed in locations with some of the highest temperatures.
You can also find animals like coyotes, desert turtles, mountain lions, desert cottontails, etc.
When our bodies come in contact with direct sunlight, we feel warmer as the skin absorbs the heat and the sun’s radiant energy. To record air temperature, meteorologists must measure it out of direct sunlight.
For an air temperature reading, the World Meteorological Organization recommends that the thermometer should be 1.25 to 2 meters off the ground.
In addition, meteorologists must screen the thermometer from direct sunlight. They measure air temperatures from weather stations using the thermometer, which they place on a Stevenson Screen.
NASA uses an instrument called Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which operates on two satellites. This instrument can view the Earth from various angles and detect thermal radiation and infrared energy from a land surface.
With the MODIS satellites, meteorologists can scan the entire surface in just one day, giving a good view of land and air temperatures.
Global warming and climate change have been topics of concern in recent years. How does global warming affect our planet’s temperature?
As carbon emissions collect in the atmosphere and absorb radiation and sunlight, the Earth’s surface temperature increases.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the Earth's surface temperatures have continued to rise. According to an analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature has increased by at least 1.1°C since 1880.
So, over the past few decades, the rate of temperature increase has almost doubled. With increasing human activities and releasing harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, temperatures will continue to grow.
So there it is, some of the hottest locations in the world. From Death Valley in California to the Flaming Mountain in China and the unexplored Cave of the Crystals in Mexico. Some of these places may have alternating temperatures each year depending on various factors, including climate change.
Can you visit any of these locations for a day? You can go through our article above to find the right spot for you.
Fadli, K. I. E., Cerveny, R. S., Burt, C. C., Eden, P., Parker, D. E., Brunet, M., Peterson, T. C., Mordacchini, G., Pelino, V., Bessemoulin, P., Stella, J. L., Driouech, F., Wahab, M. M. A., & Pace, M. B. (2013). World Meteorological Organization Assessment of the Purported World Record 58°C Temperature Extreme at El Azizia, Libya (13 September 1922). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Peel, R. F., & Gritzner, J. A. (2023. Sahara | Location, History, Map, Countries, Animals, & Facts. Britannica
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.
Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.