The 12 hottest places on Earth, from Death Valley to Kuwait

Climate change is constantly rewriting records when it comes to the world's literal hot spots, but temperatures routinely soar in these destinations

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Last month was the third-hottest July on record, with temperatures around the world 0.38°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for the same month.

Sky-high temperatures were recorded in Kuwait, Iran and Iraq last week, heatwaves and droughts were registered in large parts of Europe while UK authorities issued a heat alert for England on Tuesday, after the country already had its hottest day in history last month.

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 12 hottest places on Earth. .

Where are the hottest places on Earth?

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17: Visitors gather for a photo in front of an unofficial thermometer at Furnace Creek Visitor Center on August 17, 2020 in Death Valley National Park, California. The temperature reached 130 degrees at Death Valley National Park on August 16, hitting what may be the hottest temperature recorded on Earth since at least 1913, according to the National Weather Service. Park visitors have been warned, Travel prepared to survive.   Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP
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Death Valley, California, USA

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.

Kebili, Tunisia

Located in the south of Tunisia and home to the biggest Saharan salt pan, the highest temperature here is also the highest recorded in Africa, and is a sultry 55°C degrees, in 1931.

Mitribah, Kuwait

A man walks past the Kuwait Towers shrouded in heavy dust in Kuwait City. EPA

A verified reading of 54°C was set in Mitribah in 2016 and the highs keep coming. Last week, the country's local media outlets reported that 53°C had been recorded in Jahra, making it one of the hottest places on the planet.

Turbat, Pakistan

500px Photo ID: 103871707 - Beautiful sunset landscape in the mountains.

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.

Dallol, Ethiopia

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, daily temperatures regularly hit about 34°C here. There are places in the world that are hotter at given moments, but Dallol is thought to be the hottest place on average.

Aziziyah, Libya

Tadrart Acacus

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.

Dasht-e Lut, Iran

Man aleone in Dasht-e Lut Desert or Lut Desert landscape, a large salt desert in Iran, during sunset. (Photo by: Dani Salvà/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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-ever registered heat index. There are no verified records available, but the air temperatures in Bandar-e Mahshahr are believed to have hit highs upwards of 70°C, factoring in humidity.

Ghadames, Libya

The Libyan town of Ghadames is an oasis in the desert but also a literal hot spot. AFP

This oasis in the middle of the desert, about 650 kilometres from Tripoli, is a Unesco World Heritage Site and it's also one of the world's literal hot spots. An unverified reading of 55°C was apparently seen in this desert city where mud huts help protect residents from the intense heat.

Ouargla, Algeria

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.

Quriyat, Oman

Wadi Dayqah in Quriyat, a town 120km west of Muscat in Oman, has had the world's highest daily low temperature. Photo: Saleh Al-Shaibany

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.

12 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
  • Bandar-e Mahshahr, Iran
  • Ghadames, Libya
  • Ouargla, Algeria
  • Quriyat, Oman

- A version of this story was first published in July 2020

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