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Satellites, Shuttles, and Space Stations

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Where is the Hottest Place on Earth?

Where is the Hottest Place on Earth?

Credit: Dan Eckert
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22566089@N03/5639388153
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

People love records! The fastest animal (the cheetah), the tallest mountain (Mount Everest or Mauna Kea), or the deepest depth (Marianas Trench). You wouldn’t think that anyone would want to know the hottest place, especially if they lived there. But some people definitely want to know!

Amazing But True!

Credit: NASA's Earth Observatory
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Finding_the_Hottest_Spots_on_Earth_by_Satellite_-_NASA_Earth_Observatory.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Maximum land surface (or skin) temperatures globally from 2003 to 2009 [Figure2]

  • For decades, Al Aziziyah, Libya had the record for the highest temperature ever recorded, an astonishing 136.4°F (58°C). The temperature was a real anomaly and scientists questioned whether it was valid. In 2012, a panel was convened to look into it and they concluded that the temperature reading was an error. So what had been the 2nd hottest temperature ever recorded became the first. Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California recorded 134°F (56.7°C) on July 10, 1913. People in Death Valley were thrilled!
  • But that temperature reading was taken at a meteorological station. The actual hottest temperature recorded on Earth is 25° higher and in the desert in Iran. See what accounts for the difference in the video below.

Explore More

  1. Why was Al Azizyah, Libya stripped of its hottest temperature record?
  2. According to the Minute Earth video, what is wrong with the Death Valley claim? How does the video say that reject the hottest temperature should be determined?
  3. What is the best way to find the hottest place on Earth? What is measured?
  4. Is it likely that the 1913 record for Death Valley will be broken?

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