These Are the Hottest Places Found on Earth

Dasht-e Lut, in Iran, has recorded the highest ground temperatures on the planet
Dasht-e Lut, in Iran, has recorded the highest ground temperatures on the planet | © Westend61 GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Cassam Looch
Film Editor24 August 2020

The highest temperatures on the planet have been recorded in August 2020 – and most scientists attribute this to global warming. Culture Trip reveals the hottest places on earth – including the location in America that tops the list.

Recording temperatures requires accurate data, so this list comes with the usual caveat that the selection has been curated since records began. Even so, there is now a clear winner at the Top of the Hots, with evidence suggesting things are only going to get hotter.

Furnace Creek, Death Valley, USA

In 1913, a temperature of 56.7C (134.1F) was recorded in the appropriately named Furnace Creek, in the heart of Death Valley in California. This record has long been the subject of controversy, but there is little doubt now that America’s driest region is the hottest place on earth.

On 16 August 2020, Death Valley saw a preliminary high of 54.4C (130F) according to the National Weather Service (NWS), making it the hottest temperature according to modern methods. This July was the hottest on record in several states across the US, with high pressure over the West Coast being attributed for the excessive heat.

Death Valley, in California, has recorded the hottest temperature on earth in 2020 | | © Ovidiu Hrubaru / Alamy Stock Photo

Mitribah, Kuwait

Another 1913 record high – 55C (131F), in Kebili in Tunisia – has been widely discredited, so we’re not going to include it. Instead, the more recent 53.9C (129F) from the remote Mitribah region in Kuwait is no 2 on our list, recorded in 2016 – only a day after Basra, in Iraq, hit 53.8C (128.8F) – during a heatwave in the region.

Dallol, Ethiopia

This remote location is essentially a frightening series of hot acidic springs, beautiful salt formations and a vast gas field. The extreme elements make Dallol the hottest place on earth in terms of annual average temperature. Basically, this place is sweltering 365 days a year. The environment on the ground adds to the heat, which is why other record highs tend to come from areas with specific factors in play. Heathrow Airport, in London, is where many temperature records are set in the UK, because the tarmac makes it hotter. Likewise other airports also score highly. In 2017, Ahvaz Airport, in Iran, hit 54C (129F), for example.

Dallol’s natural surface contribute to the sweltering heat | | © Mara Duchetti / Alamy Stock Photo

Turbat, Pakistan

The southern city of Turbat is a place of huge religious significance for the Mahdavia Muslim sect in Pakistan. Life in this historic city is centred on the Kech River, and the international airport serves as an important gateway to most Gulf states. Areas with large populations aren’t typically where you’ll find record high temperatures, possibly because previous generations would have moved away from the extreme conditions. But in 2017, the World Meteorological Organisation recorded temperatures hitting 53.7C (128.7F) in Turbat.

Dasht-e Lut, Iran

The typical method to measure how hot a place is records the air temperature; however, by another metric this uninhabited desert region is easily the hottest place on earth. Satellite records of ground temperatures saw Dasht-e Lut clock in with a frankly mind-boggling average of 70.7C (159.3F). We’ll never complain about the sand being too hot on a beach holiday again.

The Iranian desert of Dasht-e Lut has seen record ground temperatures in the 70s | | © Roberto Cornacchia / Alamy Stock Photo

Bandar-e Mashar, Iran

When it comes to discomfort, we often complain that humidity – when an excess of air moisture mixes with a temperature known as the dew point – is the worst to cope with. On a human level it’s when the perspiration our bodies create, to cool us down, cannot evaporate. Saudi Arabia has some of the highest humidity levels in the world, but Iran also ranks highly. In 2015, a combined humidity and air temperature known as the Heat Index measured a record high in Bandar-e Mashar.

Athens, Greece

The Urban Heat Island phenomenon is the name given to the set of conditions that makes cities far hotter than the surrounding countryside. Logically, the temperature should remain constant between the two; they both get the same amount of sunlight after all. However, human factors contribute to rising inner city heat, and this is true of Athens, the hottest city in Europe. A large population, trapped heat from pollution and little opportunity for respite at night make the Greek capital a sweltering experience. The hottest temperature on record here was 48C (118.4F).

Athens is the hottest city in Europe | | © TTstudio / Alamy Stock Photo

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"