Mapping the hottest temperatures around the world
From 49.6C in Canada to 53.2C in Kuwait, Al Jazeera looks at where the hottest places are on Earth.
By Mohammed Haddad
1 Jul 2021
June was an exceptionally hot month for several countries in the northern hemisphere. Since Friday June 25, at least 486 sudden deaths have been recorded in Canada’s British Columbia province as temperatures soared to nearly 50C (122F). In the United States, the ongoing heatwave has buckled highways and melted power lines. A so-called “heat dome”, where high pressure traps the heat, is being blamed for the excessively high temperatures.
Record-breaking temperatures
On June 29, Lytton, a small town about 200km (124 miles) from Vancouver, hit 49.6C (121F), setting a national record for the highest temperature ever recorded across Canada. Schools, universities and vaccination centres were closed across British Columbia.
Just south of the border in the US state of Oregon, the city of Portland hit an all-time high of 46.6C (116F), breaking the previous high of 41.6C (107F), first set in 1965.
Kuwait – the hottest place on Earth in 2021
On June 22, the Kuwaiti city of Nuwaiseeb recorded the highest temperature in the world so far this year at 53.2C (127.7F). In neighbouring Iraq, temperatures reached 51.6C (124.8F) on July 1, 2021, with Omidiyeh, Iran, not far behind with a maximum temperature of 51C (123.8F) recorded so far. Several other countries in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia, recorded temperatures higher than 50C (112F) in June.
The Gulf is known for its hot and humid climate with temperatures regularly exceeding 40C (104F) in the summer months.
Hottest temperatures ever recorded
The map below shows the hottest temperatures ever recorded in each country around the world. At least 23 countries have recorded maximum temperatures of 50C (122F) or above.
Currently, the highest officially registered temperature is 56.7C (134F), recorded in California’s Death Valley back in 1913. The hottest known temperature in Africa is 55C (131F) recorded in Kebili, Tunisia in 1931. Iran holds Asia’s hottest official temperature of 54C (129F) which it recorded in 2017.
In 2020, Seymour Island in Antarctica recorded a maximum temperature of 20.7C (69.3F). According to the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO), temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula have risen by almost 3C (5.4F) over the past 50 years.
How temperature is measured
The temperature that you see on the news or on the weather app on your phone relies on a network of weather stations positioned around the globe. To ensure accurate readings, weather stations use specialist platinum resistance thermometers placed in shaded instruments known as a Stevenson screen at a height of 1.25-2 metres (4-6 feet) above the ground.
There are two well-known scales used to measure temperature: Celsius and Fahrenheit. Only a few countries, including the US, use Fahrenheit as their official scale. The rest of the world uses the Celsius scale named after Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius who invented the 0-100 degree freezing and boiling point scale in 1742.
The world is getting hotter
A report published by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) found that the Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record.
GISS Director Gavin Schmidt said, “The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trend. Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important – the important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken.”
‘Nev­er seen any­thing like this’: 100s dead amid Cana­da heat­wave
At least 486 sud­den deaths record­ed in British Co­lum­bia since Fri­day as tem­per­a­tures soar on Cana­da’s west coast.
30 Jun 2021
Pow­er­ful heat wave in US North­west hits in­fra­struc­ture
Scorch­ing heat has hob­bled high­ways, street­car wires, sus­pend­ing ser­vices, while some util­i­ties have warned of out­ages.
30 Jun 2021
Record heat linked to deaths in west­ern Cana­da, po­lice say
Blaz­ing tem­per­a­tures raise con­cern about cli­mate change ef­fects as po­lice say heat like­ly con­tributed to sud­den deaths.
29 Jun 2021
Houthi missiles target Saudi Arabia and UAE as escalation grows
Nuclear deal unlikely unless Iran releases US prisoners: Report
US orders families of Ukraine embassy staff to leave on war fears
Armenian president resigns over lack of influence
Airbus cancels $6bn contract with Qatar Airways after paint fight
Omicron ‘sub-variant’ throws up new virus questions
Taiwan reports new large-scale Chinese air force incursion
The day the world went dark: Survivor recalls disaster in Tonga
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.