Hot Spots Warmest Places on the Planet

Death Valley in California commonly reaches an air temperature of 120 degrees. This place is this hot partly because it is located in a belt of deserts that circle the globe. Here descending dry air that was heated at the equator and sent northward ensures that there is no rainfall to speak of, and that the ground is baked to something like 200 degrees. Death Valley is also in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada Range, which removes almost every drop of marine moisture from the air. Finally, Death Valley is so far below sea level, 282 feet at its lowest point, that the air filling it is heated by compression as it drops. At Furnace Creek in Death Valley a temperature of 134 F. was recorded in July of 1913.

Libya has that beat though. On September 13, 1922, the shaded air temperature at El Azzizia reached 136 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 57.8 degrees Celsius. This ancient country has been recording temperatures since the days of the Ottoman Empire, and retains many of the old records. So far 136 is the highest. El Azzizia is located fairly near the coast, about 55 kilometers southeast of Tripoli. But Libya is a desert country, of course, with no real barriers between the coastal areas and the desert south. Its Sahara is part of the same belt of desert that world-wide includes the Mohave, where Death Valley is; the Negev; the Thar; and the Sonoran deserts. A scorching wind called the Ghibli sometimes blows towards the Mediterranean
from the highland south of Libya, and can raise the temperature to scorching highs in hours.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Asia is from Tirat Zvi in Israel. That was 129 degrees F. (54 C.), recorded in 1942, which is the third highest temperature ever recorded. Tirat Zvi is not quite in the Negev, but is very near the Dead Sea, which has the lowest elevation on dry land in the world. The settlement itself is at 220 meters below sea level.

The place with the highest mean (average) annual temperature recorded in the world is Dallol, Ethiopia. There, the mean was 35 degrees Celsius from October of 1960 to December 1966.

These are all recorded temperatures. They are comparable, because they were measured in standardized circumstances. Obviously though, another weather station elsewhere in Libya or Death Valley might record a greater extreme. Other countries have regions that are known for extreme heat as well: Iraq, Chile, and Australia for example. All we really gain from this information is an indication of where to search for the hottest places on earth.