MAR 15, 2017 1:54 AM PDT

It's gettin' hot out there


Finding the hottest place on Earth may seem like a task as easy as comparing weather charts, but actually the most accurate temperature records are measured from satellites. This is because weather stations on the ground measure the temperature several feet above the ground itself, thus capturing the heat in the air, not on the actual ground. And just as you might know from running across hot sand or pavement, the ground temperature can be much hotter than the air right above it!

Death Valley, with its record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit might be the guess from most people for the hottest place on Earth, but NASA's spectroradiometers have detected that a specific point in the Lut Desert in Iran (with coordinates 29.9 degrees N, 59.1 degrees E) is actually the most scorching place on the planet, with a record of 159.3 degrees F. That's hot enough to cook an egg! While the spectroradiometers are not the most accurate measurements because they measure in areas of kilometers, these readings are certainly more precise than weather stations because they are able to cover more of the globe, while there are only 11,119 weather stations - or 1 station every 13,000 square km - on the planet.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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