Hottest Temperature on Earth is Suddenly Less Hot

For most of the past century, the desert city of El Azizia in northwestern Libya has held the title of hottest spot on Earth due to a temperature reading of 57.8°C (136°F) on September 13, 1922.

However, after years of controversy, the title has been stripped by the World Meteorological Organization and given, instead, to Death Valley, California — where, on July 10, 1913, a verified reading of 56.7°C (134°F) was recorded.

You can find notes on WMO’s reasoning, plus images of the Azizia area at Wikipedia.


  1. bill streever

    October 17, 2012

    Glad to see this old controversy put to rest. But either way, it is pretty hot in the shade on a hot day in Libya or a hot day in Death Valley. Neither place is what many of us would consider to be pleasant.

    This is a great topic, with lots of room for caveats–temperature in the shade, natural heat from the sun as opposed to heat generated by fires or lava or in laboratories, heat at the surface of the planet as opposed to in the thermosphere, etc. Great website and great to see someone trying to get people thinking about the meaning behind numbers, big and small, and behind scales of measurement. Really nice work.

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