Earlier this month, the world experienced the hottest day ever recorded on Earth.
According to data from the United States National Centres for Environmental Prediction, the world's average temperature reached 17.01°C on July 3, surpassing the previous record set in August 2016, when average global temperatures reached 16.92°C.
Severe weather warnings are still in place in several destinations around the world as intense heat waves grip Europe, large parts of the US and Asia – with Japan the latest country to issue heatstroke alerts.
The country's meteorological agency warned that Japan's highest temperature ever recorded, 41.1°C in 2018 in Kumagaya city, could be surpassed this week.
Last July was the third-hottest on record, when temperatures around the world averaged 0.38°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for the same month. With so many heat wave warnings and sky-high temperatures set this month already, this July may be on track to be even hotter.
Climate change is constantly rewriting records when it comes to the world's hottest places and temperatures upwards of 50°C are no longer a rarity, with Kuwait's Mitribah recording 54°C in 2016.
From Kebili in Tunisia to Ethiopia’s Dallol, here are the 13 hottest places on the planet.
Where are the hottest places on Earth?
Death Valley, California, US
Furnace Creek in America lives up to its name, with temperatures in Death Valley reaching 56.7°C in 1913, one of the highest ever registered.
Although some scientists debate the reliability of historic readings, Death Valley reportedly also topped 54.4°C in the summer of 2020, so there's little doubt that it's one of the hottest places on Earth.
On Sunday, temperatures baked the region reaching 53.33°C, according to the National Weather Service. And with an excessive heat warning in place until Tuesday, there's a chance the thermometer could go even higher.
Located in the south of Tunisia and home to the biggest Saharan salt pan, Kebili recorded the highest temperature in Africa, a sultry 55°C in 1931.
A verified reading of 54°C was set in Kuwait, in the city of Mitribah in 2016, and the highs keep coming.
Last week, the country's local media outlets reported that 53°C had been recorded in Al Jahra, making it one of the hottest places on the planet.
Pakistan has one of the highest temperature ranges in the world, spanning everything from extremely high to very low, besides monsoons, droughts and flooding. In 2017, the mercury hit a blistering 53.7°C in the city of Turbat in Balochistan.
This town in northern Ethiopia has some of the world's highest average readings for an inhabited place. Surrounded by piping hot springs and salt lakes, it has daily temperatures that regularly hit about 34°C. There are places in the world that are hotter at given moments, but Dallol is thought to be the hottest place on average.
This small town in Libya used to hold the distinction for being the Earth's hottest place after a 58°C recording in 1922. Meteorologists now dispute this, but the Libyan town continues to hit peak degrees, which are regularly above 48°C in the summer.
Wadi Halfa, Sudan
Northern Sudan is typically hot and dry, with scant rainfall and June is the most scorching month. And at Wadi Halfa, a trade outpost along the Nile River, the hottest temperature ever registered was 53°C.
With an annual average temperature of 29.8°C, Eritrea's Assab is one of the most sweltering places in the world, if you combine its average day and night temperatures. The hottest months are July and August, when the thermometer remains above 30°C around the clock. The city is also extremely dry – receiving an average of three days of rain per year.
Dasht-e Lut, Iran
Uninhabited and one of the hottest places on the planet, the Dasht-e Lut salt desert in Iran had a sweltering 70.7°C recording back in 2005. Measurements were taken by Nasa satellites and, unlike many of the other places in this list, measured the land surface temperature, rather than air.
Bandar-e Mahshahr, Khuzestan, Iran
This city in south-west Iran has some of the most oppressive humidity levels in the world and is thought to be the site of the globe's second-highest heat index ever registered. There are no verified records available, but air temperatures in Bandar-e Mahshahr are believed to have hit highs upwards of 70°C, factoring in humidity.
This oasis in the middle of the desert, about 650km from Tripoli, is a Unesco World Heritage Site and also one of the world's hot spots, literally. An unverified reading of 55°C was apparently seen in this desert city where mud huts help protect residents from the intense heat.
A wealthy city in southern Algeria, Ouragla hit 51.3°C in 2018. The verified temperature is one of the hottest recorded in Africa, but it's only scorching in summer. In wintertime, the mercury can dip below freezing.
While it's not as hot as other places on the list, Oman's Quriyat holds the record for the world's highest daily low. In June 2018, thermometers in the fishing village did not drop below 42.6°C over a 24-hour period.
13 of the hottest places on Earth
- Death Valley, California
- Kebili, Tunisia
- Mitribah, Kuwait
- Turbat, Pakistan
- Dallol, Ethiopia
- Aziziyah, Libya
- Wadi Halfa, Sudan
- Dasht-e Lut, Iran
- Assab, Eritrea
- Bandar-e Mahshahr, Iran
- Ghadames, Libya
- Ouargla, Algeria
- Quriyat, Oman
– A version of this story was first published in July 2020