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Hottest Place on Earth

Hottest Place on Earth

Have you ever wondered where the hottest place on Earth is? No, it's not El Azizia; the record of 136.04 °F (57.8 °C) that the Libyan city used to boast of, doesn't hold anymore.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Did You Know ?
In September 2012, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stripped El Azizia of the title of the hottest place on Earth after its Commission of Climatology World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes found the record to be invalid.
That it is the lone planet to support life definitely makes Earth by far the most fascinating planet in the Solar System or maybe, even the Universe. But did you know that there are some regions on the planet where survival is next to impossible? The freezing areas of the Himalayas and Antarctica, or the scorching regions of the Sahara and Mojave deserts. Such are the conditions in some of these regions that the chances of coming across any form of life here are as good as none.
Which is the Hottest Place on Earth?
The city of El Azizia ('Aziziya) in northwestern Libya was hailed as the hottest place in the world for 90 years. The belief stemmed from a report which stated that the city recorded a temperature of 136.04 °F (57.8 °C) on September 13, 1922. In 2012, after an in-depth investigation of this record, the investigating committee comprising climate experts from nine countries―including the United States and Libya―concluded that it was invalid. Given below is an excerpt from the World Meteorological Organization's press release (Press Release No. 956).
The WMO evaluation committee concluded the most compelling scenario for the 1922 event was that a new and inexperienced observer, not trained in the use of an unsuitable replacement instrument that could be easily misread, improperly recorded the observation and was consequently in error by about seven degrees Celsius.
After El Azizia was stripped of the title, it went to the place that had long been in contention for the same: Death Valley, California. On July 10, 1913, the Greenland Ranch station in Death Valley recorded a temperature of 134 °F (56.6 °C). It languished at the second position in the list of world's hottest places for a whole of 90 years when El Azizia topped the list; albeit erroneously. In 2012, finally after the El Azizia claim was found to be invalid, Death Valley was officially declared the hottest place in the world.
Is Death Valley the Hottest Place?
In the absence of consensus on what should be the criteria, one can just say 'kind of'. While some people think that the place which boasts of the highest recorded temperature at any given point of time should be considered the hottest, others are of the firm opinion that the place with the highest average temperature should make the cut.

Let's assume that there are two places, 'place A' with an average temperature of 110 °F and 'place B' which has recorded a temperature of 130 °F at some point of time. The first group believes that place B is the hottest based on the 130 °F temperature recorded at a specific point of time, while the second group believes that consistently high temperatures make place A the hottest.

If we go by the highest recorded temperature at any given point of time―which is what we have done―then Death Valley is no doubt the world's hottest place. However, if the average temperature of a place is to be taken into consideration, the distinction of being the current hottest place on the planet would go to Dallol, Ethiopia.
Record for the Highest Average Temperature
In Dallol, the annual mean temperature is 93.9 °F (34.4 °C), which is based on the data for the period between 1960 and 1966. A mining settlement in the past, the place is now considered unsuitable for human settlement and thus, has been declared a 'ghost town' by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia. Interestingly, Ethiopia is considered the hottest country in the world.

In the absence of roads and railways, the only means of reaching Dallol is camel ride. A decent transport infrastructure was in place here in the beginning of the 20th century, but was destroyed during the second World War.
Highest Land Surface Temperature
While Death Valley is officially the hottest place on the planet, researchers are yet to rule out the existence of places which are hotter than it. If the data collected by NASA's Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the Aqua satellite is to go by, the Dasht-e Lut (Lut desert) in Iran comes forth as the hottest place with a land surface temperature of 159.3 °F (70.7 °C). Australia's Badlands with a land surface temperature of 156.7 °F (69.2 °C) are on the second position, while the Flaming Mountains, China, are on the third position with a temperature of 152.2 °F (66.8 °C).
There is no denying the fact that temperature readings in the range of 150 °F seem more than impressive, but are they credible? The critics are quick to retort that the temperature measured by a satellite―instead of using instruments which are normally used―cannot be taken into consideration.
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