Have you ever wanted to visit the hottest or coldest place in the world? Read on to find destinations that have set weather records.
While for the most part, temperatures stay at least fairly close to averages, in some regions of Earth, especially inland regions, world records can be broken and they often far exceed temperatures and other weather conditions found in most of the rest of the world. Biomes like deserts and polar regions are often the best for record-breaking weather conditions, but they are also very remote in most cases.
- While there are a couple of other places that may have experienced hotter weather in the past, the place probably most associated with extreme heat is 1 Furnace Creek, Death Valley (Hottest place on Earth). Its elevation below sea level and location in the California deserts means that it has the hottest general weather and quite possibly the highest recorded temperature (the highest temperature ever recorded is a debated topic). Accessibility: easy.
- The hottest town in the world is 2 Dallol, a ghost town in northern Ethiopia, with an average high temperature of 41.2 °C (106.2 °F)
- The longest hot spell ever recorded is in 3 Marble Bar, Western Australia, which set the world record at 160 consecutive days with a temperature consistently above 37.8 °C (100.0 °F) in the summer of 1923/24. Although this was almost a century ago, the town is a household name in Western Australia for its extreme heat.
- Excluding unofficial temperature measurements, the coldest temperature ever reached was in 4 Vostok, East Antarctica (Coldest recorded temperature). The lowest natural temperature ever directly recorded at ground level on Earth is −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F; 184.0 K) at this Russian-controlled station on July 21, 1983 by ground measurements. Accessibility: very difficult.
- For great temperature variations between summer and winter, go to another place where you'd love to live 5 Pole of Cold (Largest temperature differences between summer and winter; lowest temperature record excluding Antarctica). The Russian Far East gets Western Russia's share of extremely cold weather, but can also get pretty warm during the summer months. Accessibility: difficult.
- 6 Cherrapunji in the Indian state of Meghalaya is often credited as the wettest place on Earth, and is the title holder for being the place with the most rainfall received within a year: 26,461 mm (1,041.8 in) between August 1860 and July 1861. Its bleak climate was blamed for many suicides by British officers deployed there during the Raj. However, if the long-term statistics are factored in, nearby 7 Mawsynram supersedes it by a narrow margin, with an average nearing 12,000 mm (470 in) per year, and also holds the record of 1,003.6 mm (39.51 in) of rain on a single day, which fell in June 2022 — almost twice of what London averages the whole year. The name of the state, Meghalaya, translates "abode of clouds" in Sanskrit for good reason.
- The area around 8 Aomori in northern Japan is the snowiest place on the planet. The city receives close to 800 cm of snowfall annually, and Sukayu Onsen, a spa resort in Towada-Hachimantai National Park in its outskirts, averages more than twice of that, making it the snowiest inhabited spot in the world.
- However, the record holder for the most snowfall in a single season is 9 Mount Baker in the U.S. state of Washington, which received close to 2,900 cm of snow in the 1998–99 winter.
- Atacama Desert in northern Chile, more specifically the area around 10 Antofagasta, is the driest place on Earth, receiving an average rainfall of about 15 mm (0.59 in) annually, and some nearby locations not higher than 3 mm (0.12 in). Indeed, the desert might not have received any significant rainfall for four centuries from 1570, although surprising and deadly flash floods in more recent history aren't unheard of.
- 11 Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica is considered the windiest place on Earth: its average annual wind speed is 80 km (50 mi) per hour, and the winds going up to 240 km (150 mi) per hour are frequent.
- The wind speed record, 345 km (214 mi) per hour, belongs to Hurricane Patricia, a tropical cyclone originated in the Pacific in October 2015 and made its landfall near 12 Cuixmala north of La Manzanilla in Jalisco, Mexico.