The hottest places on Earth

On planet Earth there are many places and locations that could be considered as “the hottest place in the world”. From the all time hottest place ever recorded in History to different regions that, on average, are usually and constantly extremely hot. In this article we’ll review some of the these extreme places found in our wonderful Earth.

The highest air temperature ever recorded

According to the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) the standard measuring conditions must be strictly followed in order to produce verifiable temperature measurements. These conditions include measuring the temperature in the air at a height of 4 ft 11 in (1.5 meters) while simultaneously shielding the thermostat from direct sunlight.

The current verified highest temperature ever recorded using this method took place in the Death Valley, more precisely at Furnace Creek Ranch on 10 July 1913. That day a group of technicians from the US Weather Bureau registered a temperature that reached 134.1 °F (56.7 °C).

Interestingly enough, although the record obtained at Furnace Creek Ranch was dethroned in 1922 when in El Azizia, Libya, a temperature of 136.4 ° F (58 ° C) was recorded, 90 years later an international team of scientists determined that the measurements taken in Libya were incorrect. The experts identified at least five issues, from faulty instrumentation and the presence of an inexperienced observer to problems innate with the site where the measurements were taken. For this reason the record returned to Furnace Creek Ranch in 2012, and it remains unbroken even to this day as the highest air temperature ever recorded on Earth.

The exterior of Furnace Creek Ranch, the hottest place on Earth.
The exterior of Furnace Creek Ranch, the hottest place on Earth.

Albeit unverified by scientists or technicians, one source claims that also in Furnace Creek Ranch but on July 15, 1972 an even hotter temperature was recorded. The claim says that on that day a temperature of 201.0 °F (93.9 °C) was registered. Something extremely unlikely and probably untrue or faulty.

Satellite measurements

Besides the air measurement records kept by the WMO, in recent years the advances in satellite technology have allowed scientists to take temperature measurements in extremely remote parts of the world from orbit. Currently this technology is unreliable due to the effects that atmospheric friction has on satellites, something which regularly leads to false measurements. Because of this reason any measurements obtained using satellites isn’t currently considered by the WMO as a record candidate.

Having said the above, in the Flaming Mountains of China in 2008 a satellite measured a temperature that reached 152.2 °F (66.8 °C). The Flaming Mountains are world renowned for their high temperatures, hence their name.

The highest average air temperature

In northern Ethiopia we find Dallol, one of the most unlivable and unforgiving places on Earth. This hydrothermal field plagued with salt formations and gas geysers recorded an average temperature of 105.8 °F (41 °C) from 1960 to 1966, the highest average temperature ever recorded. One of the reasons that made this hellish record possible is due to the fact that Dallol is located in the Afar Depression. The lack of vegetation and water sources combined with its naturally low elevation turn the region into a virtual oven.

The water holes in Dallol, Ethiopia, are extremely scarce. They're also extremely salty.
The water holes in Dallol, Ethiopia, are extremely scarce. They’re also extremely salty.

The hottest volcano

So far we’ve talked about inhabited places. However, if we talk about the hottest natural place on Earth’s surface then we have to talk about the interior of a volcano. But which one among all volcanoes is the hottest one?. The answer is, not surprisingly, found in Hawaii. After a study which followed closely 95 of the most active volcanoes on Earth scientists determined that Kilauea is the volcano which radiates the most energy in the world.

Followed by the Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Nyamuragira volcano (also in the Congo), Kilauea has released an amount of energy measured in 2¹⁷ Joules. Making it the hottest volcano on Earth, and thus the hottest naturally occurring place on Earth’s surface ever recorded.