There are 27 deserts in the world. Among them 18 are hot deserts and 9 cold deserts (called polar deserts). Overall the biggest of them is Antarctica (over 14,000,000 km2), but the biggest hot desert is Sahara.

Ok, enough of those random facts, let’s get straight to the topic.

What is the hottest desert in the world?

It depends on how you define “the hottest”.

 

One way of measuring it would be looking at surface temperature. According to data collected from Aqua satellite, the highest surface temperature in a desert was 70.7 °C (159.3 °F), which was recorded in 2005 in the Lut Desert (commonly known as Dasht-e Lut), Iran. However as measurements captured by satellites are considered to be less reliable than those from ground-positioned thermometers, some people called this value into question.

So the official highest temperature recorded in a desert was 56.7 °C (134.1 °F). It was captured on July 10, 1913 in Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley – which is a part of part of the Mojave Desert in United States. It is also the highest natural temperature ever recorded.

 

That’s one way to look at question about the hottest desert. The other is – which of the deserts has the highest average temperature? Here the answer is Danakil Desert, covering northeast Ethiopia, southern Eritrea and northwestern Djibouti. The average temperature in there can be as high as 33.8 °C (93 °F). To put this into perspective the average temperature in Santa Barbara is 16 °C (61 °F), the same in Barcelona, 12 °C (54 °F) in London and 15 °C (59 °F) – for Tokyo.