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CA News 2024

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The hottest place on earth and 9 scorching contenders

People tend to think of regions near the equator as the hottest on Earth, and to some extent this is true. However, places near our North and South Poles can still occasionally reach extreme temperatures during the summer months.

In its orbit, the Earth is tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, compared to the position of the sun, and this causes the northern and southern extremes to receive much more or less sun depending on the season.

On average, temperatures near the equator are still much hotter because the position relative to the sun changes less with the seasons. Climate change is also causing temperatures to rise around the world, affecting where and when record temperatures can be recorded.

When it comes to ranking the hottest place on Earth and climate extremes, keep in mind that the data and methods of measuring data are constantly changing.

Terrain is important

  • Deserts, as you might expect, are much hotter during the day than biomes near large bodies of water, thanks to their low relative humidity.
  • Regular precipitation has a cooling effect on the temperature of the soil surface
  • Lush plant life shades the ground and draws heat-intensive greenhouse gases from the surrounding air.
  • Low-lying valleys also tend to be much hotter than high-altitude mountains, due to an increase in air density as you get closer to the pull of Earth’s gravity.

Taking all these factors into account, meteorologists and researchers typically see the highest record temperatures and highest average temperatures in locations near the equator and on flat, low-lying areas of land.

Conversely, mountainous areas near the North and South Poles are often the coldest places on Earth.

How air temperature is measured

For hundreds of years, all we needed to measure air temperature empirically was a traditional thermometer, often filled with dangerous mercury.

Today, weather stations from groups like the World Meteorological Organization have access to accurately measure surface and air temperatures within a fraction of a degree.

The scientific community can also benefit from satellite measurements. Infrared cameras orbiting high above the Earth’s surface can scan the entire surface of the land below and monitor land skin temperatures around the world.

This allows scientists to monitor temperatures in potentially dangerous areas without having to build a weather station or travel to dangerous environments like Furnace Creek in Death Valley.

Air temperature versus surface temperature

As the name suggests, air temperature is a measure of the heat contained in the air in a given area. The surface temperature (also called land skin temperature) is measured directly from the ground.

Because surfaces such as dark stone or asphalt can become much hotter than the air in the same environment when exposed to the sun, there can be differences of more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit between air and surface temperatures.

Air temperature is a more accurate data point than land skin temperatures when assessing the hottest places on Earth, as land surface temperatures tend to vary greatly depending on the surface material and whether or not it is in direct sunlight or shade . .

That said, surface temperatures are still important to researchers because they help them monitor available groundwater and plant growing opportunities in an area.