Jul 122005

Summer’s not hot enough where you live? You must not be from Libya or Death Valley, California. Those are the sites of the two hottest temperatures ever recorded on the planet.

The biggest scorcher ever noted was on September 13, 1922, in El Azizia (also known as Al ‘Aziziyah), Libya, when the mercury hit 136 degrees Fahrenheit. El Azizia is near the Sahara desert, so it’s no wonder the place gets so hot. Temperatures have likely gotten even hotter in the actual desert, but weather stations aren’t there to record it.

California’s Death Valley had the second-highest temperature. This desert area hit 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. Like the Libyan city, Death Valley is in a mid or low latitude, which gets far more direct sun than the areas above 45 degrees north or south.

Death Valley also has the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere, which contributes to the heat. The place with the highest average temperature is Dakol, Ethiopia, at 94 degrees Fahrenheit. This spot is in a geographic depression, similar to Death Valley. Air warms up as it gets lower and cools as it rises.

So if you want to beat the heat, I recommend avoiding El Azizia, Death Valley, and Dakol too.

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Comments (1)
  1. On what month and year was the hottest temperature in the U.S. (134 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded?

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