6 of the Hottest Places in the World Before Climate Change
They're already beating their own records.
This past June was the third hottest June in recorded history — only 2016 and 2015 had hotter Junes.
The global average temperature has been surpassing the 20th century average for 41 straight years. “Record-breaking temperatures” has almost become a platitude since the turn of the century, yet the consequences of this shift are devastating communities and environments in new ways around the world.
For instance, heat-related deaths are expected to double in urban India by the end of the century. Heat waves are causing extensive crop failures and coral reefs are being cooked alive, undermining entire marine ecosystems. Rising temperatures in the Arctic, meanwhile, threaten to rearrange coastal populations around the world.
Heat waves in the Arctic are a bizarre phenomenon, but heat waves in other parts of the world are normal parts of life.
While adapting to rising heat isn’t easy anywhere in the world, these places have a little more experience.
Here are six of the hottest places in the world.
1. Death Valley, United States
Death Valley is the driest and hottest place in the United States. In the summer of 1913, it reached a reported 134 degrees Fahrenheit, the hottest temperature ever recorded.
Wind and water rarely reach this low-slung valley because of surrounding mountain ranges, which means that the air that travels into Death Valley doesn’t move much, causing it to heat up as it bakes in the sun.
Not many humans live in Death Valley, but a wide range of plants and animals do call this place home, including bobcats, birds, and fish.
2. Aziziya, Libya
WSX / Via Wikimedia Commons
But for the small city of Aziziya, 25 miles from the port city Tripoli, the heat is hard to forget. It regularly reaches 120 degrees in the summer for the 23,000 inhabitants of Aziziya.
3. Dallol, Ethiopia
A remote hydrothermal field in Ethiopia, Dallol has the highest daily temperature in the world at 106.1 degrees Fahrenheit. A small population lives in Dallol, but it’s primarily a tourist destination because of its otherworldly salt formations, hot springs, and geysers.
4. Wadi Halfa, Sudan
During some years, rain never falls on this trade outpost in Northern Sudan situated along the Nile River. The hottest temperature ever recorded here was 127.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
With an estimated population of 15,725, Wadi Halfa functions primarily as a crossroads for traders trying to reach the coastal city and Egyptian capital Cairo.
5. Ahvaz, Iran
Ahvaz hit a scorching 128 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this summer, but it felt like 142 degrees when factoring in the humidity level. In 2015, Ahvaz felt like 165 degrees for a day when accounting for humidity, the highest “real” temperature ever recorded.
What makes Ahvaz truly intolerable, though, is the pollution. The World Health Organization has ranked the city the most polluted in the world, and some days the air is so thick with contaminants that people can’t venture outside.
6. Timbuktu, Mali
This ancient trading city and world heritage site is on the southern edge of the Saharan desert and is sweltering year-round, with temperatures regularly reaching 120 degrees during the summer. Today, the city faces the dual threat of desertification and dwindling water supplies.