The 10 Hottest Places on Earth

February 15, 2024

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Landscape of Death Valley

This planet is home to some extreme temperatures, from the freezing cold in the Antarctic to the boiling heat of the African deserts. Due to global warming, we’ve seen an increase in global temperatures over recent decades. Many record-breaking temperatures have been measured in the last 20 years, although a few were recorded in the early 20th century too.

From 1922 to 2012, the highest recorded temperature in the world was believed to be 136°F (57.8°C), which was ‘recorded’ on 13 September 1922 in ʽAziziya, Libya. However, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) decertified it in 2012 as a false reading made in error by an inexperienced observer.

In this article, we’ll look at the ten hottest temperatures ever recorded. Although these scorching temperatures are often fleeting, they suggest a high average annual temperature.

The table below shows the highest temperatures ever recorded on Earth based on air temperatures.

1Death Valley, US134°F (56.7°C)10 July 1913
2Kebili, Tunisia131°F (55.0°C)7 July 1931
3Ahvaz, Iran129.2°F (54°C)29 June 2017
3Tirat Tsvi, Israel129.2°F (54°C)21 June 1942
4Basra, Iraq129°F (53.9°C)22 July 2016
4Mitribah, Kuwait129°F (53.9°C)21 July 2016
5Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan128.7°F (53.7°C)26 May 2010
5Turbat, Pakistan128.7°F (53.7°C)28 May 2017
6Xinjiang's Turpan Depression, China126°F (52.2°C)16 July 2023
7Mexicali, Mexico125.6°F (52°C)28 July 1998

1. Furnace Creek, Death Valley, United States

Death Valley, California
Sand dunes in Death Valley
Temperature: 134°F (56.7°C)
Date Recorded: 10 July 1913

The hottest temperature recorded on Earth was 134°F (56.7°C). This sweltering heat was recorded on 10 July 1913 in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California. Some reports suggest the air temperature may have resulted from a sandstorm, which caused ‘superheated surface materials’ to reach this high temperature. This would mean the recording was inaccurate as it wasn’t a true representation of the hot air temperature, although the WMO still considers the reading reliable.

On 16 August 2020 and 9 July 2021, two recordings of 130°F (54.4°C) were taken in Death Valley. The WMO is currently in the process of verifying these recordings. If confirmed, these readings will be the highest temperature recorded on Earth since 1931.

Death Valley, one of the largest National Parks in the United States, is extremely hot as it has dry air and sparse plant coverage. This allows sunlight to reach the desert floor and heat the surface. The rocks and soil emit the heat back out, which becomes trapped in the valley. Death Valley has a long, narrow basin that is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. However, the valley also has high, steep mountain ranges that help trap the heat.

July is the hottest month in Death Valley, with an average high of 116°F (46.6°C) and an average low of 88°F (31°C). The region’s coldest month is December, with an average high of 65°F (18.3°C) and an average low of 38°F (3.3°C).

2. Kebili, Tunisia

Sahara desert, Kebili, Tunisia
A camel resting in the Sahara desert, Kebili
Temperature: 131°F (55.0°C)
Date Recorded: 7 July 1931

Africa’s hottest recorded temperature is 131°F (55°C). It was recorded on 7 July 1931 in Kebili, a town in southern Tunisia. The area is subject to ghibli, a hot desert wind descending from Libya’s highlands towards the Mediterranean Sea. This wind can occur at any time of year, but it’s most frequent in the spring and early summer.

Kebili’s hot season lasts from June to September, with the average daily temperature exceeding 93°F (34°C). August tends to be the hottest month in the town when the average daily high is 100°F (38°C) and the average daily low is 77°F (25°C). The coldest month of the year is January, which has average highs of 61°F (16°C) and average lows of 45°F (7°C).

3. Ahvaz, Iran

The Ghadir Bridge, Ahvaz, Iran
The Ghadir Bridge, Ahvaz
Temperature: 129.2°F (54.0°C)
Date Recorded: 29 June 2017

Ahvaz, a city in western Iran, had the third-highest temperature ever recorded on Earth. The scorching temperature of 129.2°F (54°C) was recorded on 29 June 2017, between 4:51 pm and 5 pm local time.

The hot season in Ahvaz lasts from mid-May to mid-September, when temperatures average over 104°F (40°C). Sandstorms and duststorms are common during this period. July is usually the hottest month of the year, with average highs of 115°F (46°C) and average lows of 86°F (30°C).

4. Tirat Tsvi, Israel

Beit She'an Valley, Israel
Amal stream in Gan HaShlosha National Park in the Beit She’an Valley
Temperature: 129.2°F (54°C)
Date Recorded: 21 June 1942

The fourth-hottest temperature ever recorded was 129.2°F (54°C). It was recorded in Tirat Tsvi in Beit She’an Valley, Israel, on 21 June 1942. This is the highest temperature ever recorded in the Middle East.

Tirat Tsvi is a religious kibbutz, a type of community that is based on agriculture. The kibbutz lies west of the Jordan River, near the Israel-Jordan border. When the first settlers founded it in June 1937, they had no idea the area sits 721 feet (220 m) below sea level. Regions below sea level have a low altitude and get extremely hot as they have high pressure. Areas at high elevations, such as mountains, have low pressure and are much colder.

5. Basra, Iraq

Basra, Iraq
Sun setting in Basra, Iraq
Temperature: 129°F (53.9°C)
Date Recorded: 22 July 2016

Basra, a city in southern Iraq, has a hot desert climate. On 22 July 2016, the city recorded a temperature of 129°F (53.9°C), which is the world’s fifth-highest temperature ever recorded. The city is home to one of Iraq’s main ports, Al Maqal Port, which sits on the Shatt Al Arab River.

Summer temperatures regularly exceed 122°F (50°C). July is usually the hottest month of the year, with an average high of 114.8°F (46°C) and an average low of 82.4°F (28°C). The coldest month of the year in Basra is typically January, when the average high is 64.4°F (18°C) and the average low is 44.6°F (7°C).

Due to the city’s close proximity to the Persian Gulf, Basra sometimes reaches a humidity level of around 90%.

6. Mitribah, Kuwait

Kuwait City, Kuwait
Kuwait City
Temperature: 129°F (53.9°C)
Date Recorded: 21 July 2016

Mitribah is a weather station in northwest Kuwait (a country on the northern edge of Eastern Arabia). On 21 July 2016, the station recorded a temperature of 129°F (53.9°C), just a day before Basra recorded the same temperature. Before the recording was taken in Basra, this was the hottest temperature recorded in the world for 76 years.

This is the third-highest temperature that has been reliably recorded on Earth. Three of the previous temperatures (Tirat Tsvi, Kebili, and Death Valley) have been questioned and objected to by some researchers.

Kuwait has an arid desert climate with four distinct seasons. The country has colder winters than other coastal countries in the region due to its proximity to Iran and Iraq. Kuwait is also less humid than other nearby countries.

7. Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan

Mohenjo-daro in Sindh, Pakistan
Mohenjo-daro in Sindh
Temperature: 128.7°F (53.7°C)
Date Recorded: 26 May 2010

Mohenjo-daro, an archaeological site in Sindh, southeastern Pakistan, recorded the seventh-hottest temperature on 26 May 2010. A recording of 128.7°F (53.7°C) was measured. Seven years later, the same temperature was recorded in Turbat, another city in Pakistan.

The archaeological site is off the Indus River’s west bank in the Larkana District of Sindh. It was occupied from around 2,600 BC until the city was abandoned sometime after 1,900 BC. One of the suspected reasons that the ancient civilization moved away from the area is the changing climate towards the later years of the city’s occupation. Scientific analysis suggests winter monsoons became stronger and summer monsoons became weaker.

Mohenjo-daro has a hot desert climate. However, the lowest temperature recorded at the site was 22.3°F (-5.4°C), measured in January 2006. Occasional dust storms and thunderstorms partially cool Pakistan’s hot, dry climate.

8. Turbat, Pakistan

Turbat, Pakistan
A shepherd in Turbat
Editorial credit: Wirestock/iStock
Temperature: 128.7°F (53.7°C)
Date Recorded: 28 May 2017

On 28 May 2017, a recording of 128.7°F (53.7°C) was taken in Turbat, southern Balochistan, Pakistan. The same temperature was recorded almost exactly seven years prior in Mohenjo-daro. The two locations are 537 miles (864 km) away from each other.

Turbat is often regarded as one of the hottest cities in Asia. The warmest month in this city is usually June, which has average highs of 109°F (43°C) and average lows of 84°F (29°C). The coldest month tends to be January, which has average highs of 77°F (25°C) and average lows of 50°F (10°C)

Turbat is located on the Kech River, approximately 110 miles (180 km) from the Gwadar Port at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

9. Sanbao Township, Turpan, China

Turpan, Xinjiang
Street food vendors in Turpan
Temperature: 126°F (52.2°C)
Date Recorded: 16 July 2023

On 16 July 2023, a temperature of 126°F (52.2°C) was recorded in Sanbao Township, Turpan, Xinjiang in China. The city is approximately 93 miles (150 km) southeast of Ürümqi, Xinjiang’s capital. It’s located on the northern side of the Turpan Depression in a mountain basin at an elevation of approximately 98 feet (30 m) above sea level.

Turpan has a continental desert climate with long, extremely hot summers. July is usually the hottest month, with average highs of 102.2°F (39°C) and average lows of 82.4°F (28°C). The winters are short but very cold, with an average high of 30.2°F (-1°C) and an average low of 15.8°F (-9°C) in January (Turpan’s coldest month).

In July 2023, several Chinese cities opened air raid shelters to give citizens some relief from the extreme heat. Beijing had a record-breaking ten days of temperatures above 95°F (35°C), the longest heatwave since 1961.

10. Mexicali, Mexico

Mexicali, Mexico
Mexicali, Mexico
Temperature: 125.6°F (52°C)
Date Recorded: 28 July 1998

Mexicali is a city in northern Mexico on the US border. On 28 July 1998, a temperature of 125.6°F (52°C) was recorded, which is the tenth-highest temperature recorded in the world. The city has low annual precipitation, which creates an arid climate. Mexicali has long, hot summers and mild winters.

The warmest month in Mexicali is July, which has the highest average temperature of 107.6°F (42°C) and an average low of 78.8°F (26°C). Rain usually falls during December, January, and February. However, rainfall during the summer months is rare, with as little as 0.01 inches (0.2 mm) falling on average in June and 0.15 inches (3.8 mm) falling in July on average.

Mexicali is often called ‘the city that captured the sun’. Its high temperatures and extreme climate are notorious in Mexico, although the city does experience snowfall for a few days each year.