It’s often said that Death Valley, which is located in California, holds the record of the hottest surface temperature on earth, with a surface temperature of 56.7°C (134.1°F). But Death Valley is this warm only due to the warmth of the air, which surprisingly may not be the case with much hotter surfaces than this.
New research on the Earth’s most intense surface temperatures showed that it is much more difficult to stand for a second on these two locations – Iran’s Lut Desert (Dasht-e Lut) and North America’s Sonoran Desert (Desierto de Sonora) than Death Valley. For the last two decades, high-resolution satellite data have been studied, which tells us that the surface of these two regions can sometimes heat up to a devastating 80.8°C (177.4°F) temperature, which is far more than the Death Valley’s 56.7 degrees Celsius (134.1 degrees Fahrenheit).
Iran’s Lut Desert (Dasht-e Lut)
The first place for hottest surface temperature on Earth seized by Lut Desert. By the time period of 2002 and 2019, this patch of sand regularly reached intense limits. Because this place is settled down between a range of mountains, that captures the hot air above dunes, specifically that area which is covered in black volcanic rock. Recent studies are in justification with previous studies in 2011, that Lut Desert was one of the most blistering places on Earth.
This part of sand experienced the highest surface temperature on earth from 2004 to 2007 and in 2009. In 2005 the initial data showed that this place reached 70.7 °C (159.3°F). Despite this, the authors of this new paper say that there are fewer chances of this.
After the first findings, NASA released a new model of its satellite software that allows better investigation of land surface temperatures on Earth. Researchers by using this new model said that temperatures in the Lut Desert are actually 10 degrees higher than their expectations.
North America’s Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is that desert that mapped the border of the United States and Mexico. It can also reach intense high temperatures but not as frequently as the Lut Desert. It is mainly situated in a rain shadow and the low height of this desert (Sonoran Desert) tells that air has little chance of rising and getting cool.
Heat easily gets trapped in the arid basin which increases firstly atmospheric temperature and then the land temperature because the Sonoran Desert is surrounded by mountains. It’s just like boi
ling the sidewalk on a hot day. It is not clear how much climate change has contributed to such high temperatures. But the hottest days are observed in most recent years and also during La Niña (a climate oscillation that can fluctuate with global warming).
“While the behavior of the atmosphere in response to more anthropogenic emissions is observed and studied well, the response of the land surface in cases of different emission pathways is not well understood,” the authors write. “It is hoped that in future the research in this direction can put light on not only how extremes have changed in the past but how they are going to affect our planet in the future.”
The new analysis was not only able to find the hottest land on Earth (i.e. Lut Desert and the Sonoran Desert) but also identified the coldest place. Antarctica easily got first place with a record low temperature of -110.9 °C (-199.6 °F), which is 20 degrees lower than previous estimates.
The sunlight that comes in this area is relatively weak, and most of the rays from the sun are reflected into the atmosphere after reflection from snow and ice. Strong winds and a low-pressure system also coincide, that is to reduce the temperatures of Antarctica’s surface even more.
Further research is needed on the remote landmasses that are not in reach of weather stations and thus to determine the fact that ground temperatures are changing with modern times.