The earth has a mild, temperate climate compared to other planets in space, enabling life to form on its surface. We all know that climate and weather changes throughout the year, and no matter where we live, we are always affected by the climate. However, many places have extreme hot or cold weather, which you probably don’t want to be. Here are some of the hottest and coldest places on the planet.
1. Vostok Station, Antarctica
Vostok Station (which means “East Station” in English) is a Russian (former Soviet) research station in inland Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica. On average, it’s the coldest spot on earth, and it is where the lowest recorded temperature was taken at -128.56 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you imagine how deadly cold that is? On June 27, 2018, a new record low was even taken: a record-setting -144 degrees Fahrenheit on several occasions between 2004 and 2016. The lowest measured air temperature was also measured on this spot at -129 degrees on July 23, 1983.
This top spot is predictable since Antarctica is not only the coldest continent but also the windiest and the highest overall elevation. The continent contains 90% of the ice in the world, but it doesn’t receive rain, making it a desert.
2. Oymyakon, Russia
Everyone knows that Russia is a cold place to be. The community of Oymyakon, which is located along the Indigirka River, is known as the coldest inhabited place in the world. It would probably be common to the residents of this area to wear their long johns. It is home to an extreme subarctic climate where the winter temperature averages to -58 degrees Fahrenheit. On February 6, 1933, the coldest temperature of -90 °F was recorded at Oymyakon’s weather station.
But despite the harsh and long winters, the summers on Oymyakon is pretty mild, sometimes with hot and scorching days. During July and August, temperatures of 86 degrees Fahrenheit are not rare during the day.
3. Verkhoyansk, Russia
About 500 miles away from Oymyakon lies another snowy town in Russia. Verkhoyansk, which is located in the Siberian wilderness, also had a reported lowest temperature of -90 degrees Fahrenheit. When you breathe, you will find that your nostrils stick together, indicating that the temperature is truly frigid.
The average temperature in January here is a bone-numbing, negative 50 degrees. Most of its inhabitants simply don’t get out of their homes when temperatures get that cold.
4. Eismitte, Greenland
When you first discover the lone but big island of Greenland on the world map when you were a kid, your first instinct was the place was full of green grass. But Greenland is never green. It’s one of the mystical and mysterious places that many travelers think about visiting, yet rarely do because it’s remote and always cold.
One particular spot, Eismitte (“Mid-Ice” in English) was the site of an Arctic expedition from 1930 to 1931. Annual records show that the lowest temperature recorded reached -85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is around -33 °F.
5. Snag, Yukon, Canada
The majority of the world views that most of Canada is cold, so it just fits that at least one of the chilliest spots in the world is in Canada. Snag, located in the Yukon Territory, snags one of the coldest spots in the world, and it is considered as the coldest place in the North American continent. The lowest thermometer reading in this place is -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which was recorded on February 3, 1947.
Snag is cold because it is shaped like a bowl. The mountains block the warm air from the Pacific Ocean, and the cold air from the same mountain peaks finds its way down to the area. This causes a particularly inhospitable climate in Snag. When the record low temperature was recorded, only ten people were living in the area.
1. Death Valley, California
The name “Death Valley” says it all. Located in the Mojave Desert of California, Death Valley is the hottest, lowest, and driest region in North America. It also holds the world record of the highest temperature ever recorded: 134 degrees Fahrenheit. It also holds the record of the highest natural ground temperature ever recorded, which was 201 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature here during the summer is around 47 degrees Celsius.
This desert is a real scorcher, as a human can’t survive for very long in here. While this parched landscape is inhospitable for us, life can survive as bobcats, kit foxes and rodents scurry about at night. In the park’s higher elevations, you can find bighorn sheep foraging.
2. El Azizia, Libya
Located in Northwestern Libya, El Azizia had some serious bragging rights. On September 13, 1922, this small town held the record of the highest temperature ever measured on earth: a massive 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit. They hold the record for 90 years until the World Meteorological Organization disproved the validity of the 1922 reading.
Though the record of El Azizia has been downgraded, it still belongs to the hottest spots on the planet, as temperatures regularly climb over 120 degrees during the summer. But despite its tepid climate, it still operates as a major trade center of the Sahel Jeffare plateau and is one of the trade route from the coast to Nafusa Mountains and southern Fezzan region.
3. Dallol, Ethiopia
Dallol was a settlement in the Dallol woreda of northern Ethiopia but is now a ghost town. Visiting Dallol is like visiting another planet, as it features a lot of hydrothermal deposits, volcanoes, geysers, and cracked earth that adds to the heat. Its claim to fame is it once held the record for the highest annual temperature. From 1960 to 1966, Dallol had an average temperature of 93.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Take note that it was a yearly average, meaning the temperature in this place dips only moderately throughout the year. The highest average daily temperature during that same period was 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is rarely a break from the sweltering sun in Dallol. Before it became a ghost town, the area was a mining settlement. It’s also interesting to note that in the Afar Depression, where Dallol is located, there are a lot of active volcanoes, so the heat comes from the sun above and also from the ground below.
4. Dasht-e Lut, Iran
Iran’s Dasht-e Lut desert is an area so desolate and so parched that no one is around to monitor the regular temperature. The heat and drought in this area make it so dry, so nothing can live here, not even bacteria. Though maintaining a weather station is impractical in the Dasht-e Lut, a NASA satellite recorded a temperature of 159 degrees Fahrenheit in 2005 in the Lut desert, making it the hottest place on earth. It was the highest reading ever to be officially confirmed for a location on the planet.
While it’s inhabited, the desert boasts many natural phenomena like sand dunes that reach peaks of 500 feet due to extreme local winds.
5. Timbuktu, Mali
Located near the Niger River, Timbuktu is situated near the middle of Mali in West Africa. IT is one of the most famous spots on the African continent. The history of Timbuktu is a rich and storied one. It sits at the crossroads of ancient Saharan trade routes, and the city was integral in spreading Islam throughout Africa. It also houses the world’s greatest collections of ancient manuscripts. Today, the city is dwarfed by enormous sand dunes, as massive amounts of sand loom over the city and the streets are frequently buried in sand swept by the wind.
Temperatures soar in this region, as it can get as hot as 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Locals like to cool off in the waters of the Niger River.