The 15 Hottest Temperatures Ever Recorded on Earth

by Aleena Khan5 months ago
Picture The 15 Hottest Temperatures Ever Recorded on Earth

We owe our existence to the warmth and light shone on Earth by the Sun. Without the Sun’s heat, our planet would be an ice-coated rock, cold and lifeless. But at times, this life-sustaining heat can be a bit too much. Though the average annual global surface temperature is a comfortable 15 °C (59 °F), there have been instances of extreme temperature readings going well above 50 °C (122 °F). Fortunately, these intense bursts of heat are short-lived, given that anything above 50 °C is practically unbearable. But how hot can the hottest places on Earth get? Let’s explore the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth and find out how hot it can get on our blue planet.

15 50 °C in Dunbrody, South Africa, and Jordan Valley, Jordan

Jordan Valley, Jordan
Jordan Valleys sits below sea level. Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

While Letaba in Limpopo Province claims the title of the hottest place in South Africa, it is Dunbrody in the Eastern Cape that recorded the highest-ever temperature of 50°C in the country on 3 November 1918.

Then on 6h September 2002, Jordan Valley in Jordan also touched 50 °C. As the valley is situated below the mean sea level, it’s a few degrees warmer than the rest of Jordan with the average temperature in summers between 38 °C to 39 °C. (1,2,3)

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14 50.1 °C in Karakum, Turkmenistan

Karakum desert in Turkmenistan
Temperature in Karakum Desert can go up to 50°C in July.

Turkmenistan, a picturesque country with snow-white buildings, has 70% of its area occupied by the Karakum Desert. The desert has a severe climate with long-term average temp in July swinging between 28 °C to 32 °C and the maximum temperature approaching 50 °C. But the national record of the highest-ever temperature of 50.1 °C (122.18 °F) registered in 1983 in southeastern Karakum hasn’t been breached yet. (1,2)

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13 50.4 °C in Agadir, Morocco and Doha, Qatar

Agadir, Morocco
Agadir in Morocco has a semi-arid climate. Image Credit: Saiko3p/Shutterstock.com

On 14 July 2010, when Qatar was facing its hottest season ever, the temperature at Doha Airport rose to a record 50.4 °C(122.72 °F). Unofficial readings by locals went as far as +6 °C over that, but it is believed that was due to the uncontrolled environment around the recording devices.

Morocco matched Qatar’s record on 11 August 2023. This was the first time in Morocco that the temperature spilled over 50 °C amid a series of heatwaves. Apart from giving Morocco its highest temperature ever, these heat waves were also responsible for wildfires near Tangier and in Taza Province, located in northern and eastern Morocco, respectively. (1,2)

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12 50.7 °C in Semara, Western Sahara and Onslow, Western Australia

Onslow, Western Australia
Australia has twice witnessed a temperature of 50.°7C.

On 12 January 2022, the temperature in Onslow, a remote coastal town in Western Australia, boiled up to the continent’s previous record high temperature of 50.7 °C (123.26 °F),  initially recorded in 1962 in South Australia. Notably, the same temperature was also recorded in the African continent at Semara, Western Sahara in 1961.

During the 2022 heatwave, it was so hot in Western Australia that the air conditioners couldn’t keep up and stopped working in some places. (1,2)

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11 51.0 °C – Phalodi in Rajasthan, India 

Phalodi is located in the Thar desert
Phalodi is located in the Thar desert.

Phalodi is accustomed to warm weather because of its location in the arid Thar Desert. But it got unusually hot on 19th May 2016 when the temperature surged to 51 °C (123.8 °F). It eclipsed the previous national record of 50.6 °C(123.08 °F), set in 1956 in the city of Alwar, also in Rajasthan. (1,2)

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10 51.3 °C – Ouargla in Ouargla Province, Algeria 

 Ouargla lies in the Sahara Desert
Ouargla lies in the Sahara Desert. Image Credit: Habib kaki/Wikimedia.org

In 2018, many parts of the world were gripped by intense heat waves pushing temperatures to the extreme. Among the nations feeling the burn was Algeria, where the temperature soared to 51.3 °C (124.34 °F)!

It was recorded at Ouargla in the Sahara Desert on 5 July 2018 and holds the title of “Africa’s hottest reliably measured temperature.” (1,2)

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9 51.6 °C – Joba, Oman

Oman
Oman has faced extreme weather multiple time.

Oman has endured some 22 extreme weather events between 2007 and 2021. It also witnessed an extreme temperature of 51.6 °C (124.88 °F) on 16 June 2021, setting up a national record for the hottest temperature recorded in the Sultanate. This was in tune with the broader trend of Oman’s annual temperatures increasing by 0.4 °C. (1,2)

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