4 minute read
With summer just around the corner, it’s finally time to start digging out the shorts and dusting off those sunglasses. The UK isn’t particularly known for guaranteed sunshine, so it makes sense that those looking to really soak up the sun may be jetting off elsewhere. While there are plenty of places to bask in the heat while cooling down with a refreshing cocktail (don’t forget the ice), there are some spots that are sure to prove too much for even the most seasoned sunbather. Read on for our top five favourite weather watching 'hot spots', with a sixth contender included at the end just for fun!
Death Valley National Park, California, United States
Death Valley National Park is generally accepted to hold the record for the highest air temperature ever reliably recorded, hitting 56.7°C in July 1913. Boasting the lowest-altitude in the United States of 282 feet below sea-level, Death Valley is comprised of a harsh landscape that deserves its name. The deep basins and neighbouring mountains of the valley cause the hot air to rise up and cool again repeatedly, cycling the air and ultimately causing it to function like a gigantic, natural fan-oven.
El Azizia, Libya
In September 1922, a temperature of 58°C was measured in El Azizia, which was long-considered the hottest air temperature ever recorded. However, various controversies surrounded this measurement, such as an uncalibrated thermometer being used for the reading and this particular figure being logged by an inexperienced record keeper. Eventually, the World Meteorological Organization deemed this reading to be invalid, therefore returning the record to Death Valley. Nevertheless, El Azizia has verified recordings of 56°C, so there’s not a lot to separate the two.
One of the hottest locations on the planet almost looks as though it belongs on another - if you’re looking for year-round sun, Dallol, Ethiopia might be your best bet. With an average annual temperature of 35°C, this ghost town situated within the Afar Triangle has a unique geological landscape resulting from the three tectonic plates it resides between. In addition to the striking colours caused by various chemical salts, Dallol is one of the lowest points on Earth at 430ft below sea level. On top of the heat, the combination of lava flows and acidic lakes doesn’t particularly encourage flora or fauna – any micro-organisms that do manage to survive out here are of major interest to science.
Lut Desert, Iran
When talking temperatures, the hottest locations are determined by verified air temperature readings that have to meet certain standards, such as being measured at 1.5m above ground and out of the effects of direct sunlight. If we were to look for simply where the hottest natural temperature could be found, it would without a doubt be the surface of the Lut Desert. With surface temperatures of a sizzling 70°C, the Lut Desert is one of the hottest – and driest – places on the planet. The harsh environment entailed with such heat means that these temperature measurements have to be made by satellite. NASA carried out a seven-year study of the hottest regions on Earth over an annual period – for five of the seven years this point was found in the Lut Desert.
As far as cities go, Bangkok is considered the hottest in the world based on annual measurements from the World Meteorological Organisation. Temperatures in the city can hit 40°C at their hottest, but it’s primarily the extreme relative humidity levels of up to 90% that can create gruelling conditions for any unprepared tourists. Luckily, with plenty of water parks and ice bars around there are ways to combat the heat!
While not quite matching the very warmest areas of the world, on August 10th 2003 Faversham recorded the highest air temperature ever measured in the UK – hitting 38.5°C. In the middle of a European heatwave thought to be the hottest period for 500 years, new temperature records were set all over the country with many regions reaching the mid 30’s. While beaches all around the country were packed with those enjoying the weather, commuters had to struggle with equally-packed trains due to widespread rail delays as a result of speed restrictions in place to prevent tracks from buckling in the heat.