Mother Nature has been known to have a temper. She doesn’t do things in half measures much of the time. She can blow seething hot winds and she can be so cold that it could turn your heart into ice in no time. No matter where we live, we are always affected by the climate. Temperatures and weather are something most all of us like to discuss.
The fact is that the cold has hurt more people than the heat has – 20 times as many people according to a study which analyzed more than 74 million deaths in 13 countries. And there's a distinct difference between weather and climate. NASA says that weather is the condition of the atmosphere over a short timespan while climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over long periods of time. So, climate describes long-term weather patterns in particular areas.
The National Academy of Sciences says the earth's surface temperature is about one degree F hotter than it was in the 20th century. That warming has accelerated over the last two decades. Evidence suggests that most of this rise in temperature over the last 50 years is due to the activities of humans.
We decided to have a look at these polar (pun intended) opposites to bring you the 10 hottest places on the planet and 10 places that will make you shiver just thinking about them.
20 Boiling Hot: It's Called Death Valley For A Reason
California’s Death Valley holds the record for the hottest place on earth according to air temperature. In 1913, the desert became a literal scorcher, reaching a sweat-inducing temperature of 56.7 degrees C. A human could not survive for very long in those conditions. Also known for being the driest place in the United States, its daytime summer temps average at around 47 degrees C — a tad warm even for the most ardent lover of hot climates.
19 Boiling Hot: A Blazing Israeli Kibbutz
Tirat Zvi is a small kibbutz — or community — in Israel. In June 1942, the thermometer registered 54 degrees C which claimed the hottest recorded temperature in Asia. There are some who have questioned that record, claiming the thermograph was incorrectly read; however, its claim to fame is its sweltering heat. When the temperature reaches 37 degrees C, locals want to don sweaters because that’s as low as the temperature usually goes.
18 Boiling Hot: Blistering Sands Of Timbuktu
The saving grace to Timbuktu's scorching heat is that the Niger River is only about 15 miles away. Locals like to cool off in its waters especially since temperatures can soar to more than 54 degrees C. Located in Mali, Africa, Timbuktu is part of the ancient trade route of the Sahara Desert. It was integral to spreading the word of Islam throughout the continent. The city is dwarfed by great sand dunes and the hot winds often bury the streets in copious amounts of sand.
17 Boiling Hot: Australia's Blazing Badlands
Australia gets the moniker of being the driest inhabited continent on the planet. It also has the distinction of having some of the deadliest badlands on earth. With temperatures that can climb to a scalding 69 degrees C, very few people make this area of the country their home. The area experiences periods of extreme drought and there is very little escape from the sun. It was in 2003 that a NASA satellite registered a temperature of almost 70 C in these Queensland Outback badlands.
16 Boiling Hot: China's Flaming Mountains
You might think that the Flaming Mountains are called "flaming" for a good reason. Yes, it is very hot in this Tian Shan mountain range in Xinjang, China, but it's more likely the mountains were named so since they actually do resemble flames. The red sandstone bedrock has seen years of erosion and it is, in fact, a sizzling hot area. A temperature reading in 2008 registered at more than 67 degrees C – the hottest place on earth at that time. The temperature was recorded by NASA's imaging spectroradiometer which can take ground surface temperatures from space.
15 Boiling Hot: Like An Oven In Libya
El Azizia, Libya made the weather history books back on Sept. 13, 1922, when the weather station recorded a temperature of almost 58 degrees C – the highest temperature ever measured at that time. But, that record was found to have been incorrect in 2012 by the World Meteorological Society. It's still one of the hottest places on earth since temperatures can soar to more than 56 degrees C in the summer. Despite its rather tepid climate, it is a major trade centre of the Sahel Jeffare plateau and is on the trade route from the coast to the Nafusa Mountains and the southern Fezzan region.
14 Boiling Hot: Dallol, Ethiopia Is Literally Bubbling
Although Dallol is a ghost town today, its claim to fame is that it once held the record for having the highest average annual temperature ever. Beginning in 1960 and for six years after, Dallol had an average temperature of almost 35 degrees C. It wasn't unusual for the mercury to rise well over 37 in the then mining town. And the heat is constant. There is rarely a break from the sweltering sun. Despite the heat, the area still attracts visitors because of its hydrothermal deposits. Dallol is also in a region that is volcanically active, so it not only gets heat from the sun, but also from the deep recesses of the ground.
13 Boiling Hot: Deadly Hot Dasht-e Lut, Iran
It is so hot in Dasht-e Lut that there is nary a person around to record the temperature on a regular basis, so having a weather station in the arid desert would be impractical. Luckily, a NASA satellite can measure temperatures from space and has done so for this area. In fact, from 2004 to 2009, NASA's spectroradiometer pegged this area as the hottest spot on earth. And what was that temp? A staggering 70 degrees C! That is the highest temperature ever confirmed on the planet.
12 Boiling Hot: Searing Conditions In Wadi Halfa, Sudan
Not only does this remote encounter vehement dust storms known locally as haboobs, but Wadi Halfa, on the Egyptian border, has to endure extremely hot temperatures as well. The temperature has been recorded as high as 53 degrees C. The wind whips up into a frenzy in this small community when unstable, moist air forms thunderstorms in the afternoon heat. Haboob is an Arabic term meaning "strong wind." They actually form after a severe thunderstorm collapses causing air cooled by the rain to crash to the ground at speeds of more than 160 km/h.
11 Boiling Hot: A Hot Oasis
Ghadames, Libya has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site because of its mud huts. The stark, white buildings serve to protect the area's 7,000 residents from the often unbearable heat. It is a beautiful oasis known as "the pearl of the desert." Temperatures have been known to reach highs in the 40s, with a temperature of 55 degrees C once recorded. The town is located on Libya’s border with Algeria and Tunisia. Archaeological evidence suggests the area has been settled since the 4 th millennium B.C. And no wonder since it's near a water source and that would have made it an important spot for settlers.
10 Freezing Cold: It's Frosty In Oymyakon, Russia
You can bet the 500 residents of Oymyakon, Russia are wearing their Long Johns. Located along the Indigirka River, this small community has the accolade of being known as one the coldest places on earth that is permanently inhabited. It has a subarctic climate that can only be described as extreme. How would you like to go ice skating in -71.2 degrees C? That was the recorded low in 1924. The only other place to have temperatures recorded this low is Antarctica. And yes, Reindeer do live here!
9 Freezing Cold: Eismitte, Greenland Is Never Green
Greenland is one of the mystical, magical places many travellers think about visiting, yet rarely do. Not only is it remote, but it’s nearly always cold. One particular spot — Eismitte — or Mid-Ice — is located in the country’s interior and was the site of an Arctic expedition in July 1930 and August 1931. This chilly place definitely warrants a Parka since it’s purported to be one the of the most frigid spots in the Northern Hemisphere with a recorded low temperature of -47.2 degrees C. Brrrr!! Put the kettle on!
8 Freezing Cold: A Slice Of Ice Somewhere In Antarctica
Using advanced scientific techniques, it was ascertained recently that a large piece of ice in the Antarctic is, in fact, the coldest place on earth at a mind-numbing (and everything else numbing) temperature of almost -98 degrees C. That record was previously claimed by the Russian Vostok Station close to the South Pole with a temperature of -89 degrees C. This earthly spot alien to human life is so cold, that it would literally cause pain to take a breath. It is so frigid that scientists believe that temperature there appears to be about as low as it can possibly plummet.
7 Freezing Cold: Alaska's Denali (AKA Mount McKinley)
Mount McKinley's name was formally changed to Denali by the Obama administration on Aug. 30, 2015. Whatever Alaskans call this spot, it's much too cold for just about any winter sport chiming in at a record low of -73 degrees C. Five glaciers flow off the mountain's slopes. Denali has the distinction of being the tallest mountain in North America. The mountain's peak is 6,190 meters above sea level. It's no wonder the temperature is chilly. Most of the mountain is in the clouds.
6 Freezing Cold: Snag in Canada's Yukon
With the worldly view that most of Canada is cold, it stands to reason that at least one of the chilliest spots in the world is claimed by the country. Snag in Canada's Yukon Territory snags one of the 10 coldest spots with a low thermometer reading of nearly -63 degrees C which was recorded on Feb. 3, 1947. By the way, that temperature is actually the lowest recorded in continental North America. Snag is in the White River valley of the Yukon Territory. Even the highs are low in Snag. O degrees C is about a balmy as it gets. Four seasons don't exist in this part of Canada. It's called the Great White North for a reason.
5 Freezing Cold: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Don't you hate it when your eyelashes freeze together? It certainly happens in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. With an average winter temperature of -40 degrees C, Ulaanbaatar has been dubbed the world's coldest national capital. As a matter of fact, it's pretty chilly there on the best of days. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), lists Ulaanbaatar's average annual temperature at around -19 degrees C. So, more than 1.3 million residents of the area likely have more than one winter coat.
4 Freezing Cold: Roger's Pass, Montana
Roger's Pass is right on the Continental Divide in the state of Montana. As far as temps go, it's one of the warmer on this list yet the average temperature in winter runs between -10 degrees C and 0 degrees C, so it rarely gets above freezing. The summer months can get fairly warm, but it doesn't last for long. Roger's Pass has the lowest temperature on record in the contiguous U.S., coming in at a frosty -56 degrees C on Jan. 24, 1954.
3 Freezing Cold: Verkhoyansk, Russia
When you breathe and your nostrils stick together, that's your first that the temperature is pretty frigid. That likely happens a lot in Verkhoyansk, Russia located in the deep, Siberian wilderness. In fact, life in Verkhoyansk can be so unsavory that the Russians sent exiles here between the mid-1800s to the early 20th century. The average January temperature is a bone-numbing -50 degrees C with an all-time low of -68 degrees C. Most of the 1,434 residents simply don't venture out of their homes when it gets that cold.
2 Freezing Cold: Yakutsk -- Another Russian Cold Spot
Some claim that Yakutsk is the coldest city in the world. In the bleakness of January, the average high temperature is only -36 degrees C. The low on record is a frigid -63 degrees C. Yet, more than 200,000 people make this their home and the community has a vibrant entertainment life with theatres, museums and even a zoo. The place is so cold that when truck drivers make runs to nearby villages to restock supplies, they never turn off their truck engines during the entire trip which takes about two weeks!
1 Freezing Cold: Hell Really Does Freeze Over
Hell does freeze over -- Hell, Norway that is! Hell has become pretty well known not only for its name but for its icy, sub-arctic temperatures. The average winter temperature here is -4 degrees C -- comparatively warmer than some of the places on the list, yet still chilly enough to give it a mention. Hell actually does freeze over for about a third of the year or from December to March. Many tourists make the trek to Hell just to have their photos taken with the town's sign.