Why is it so hot in Death Valley?

We all asked ourselves at least once “why is so darn hot in the Death Valley?” After all the highest natural temperature was recorded in Furnace Creek Ranch, located on the Death Valley! Additionally Furnace Creek was also the hottest place during a single month, making Death Valley one of the hottest places on the Earth. But why is Death Valley hotter than any other places? What makes it so special?


Topography is to blame

The extreme heat of Death Valley can be mainly attributed to its location. Geographical factor plays an important role as the Valley is far away from any body of water and surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains are blocking any moisture that could come from the Pacific Ocean. Solar radiation additionally heats up the air, making it hot and dry. What’s more, this hot air gets trapped in the narrow valley, with mountains preventing any air from circulating in or out.

However, the air does move. As its temperature rises it moves up when it cools slightly, just to sink back to the valley. There it’s reheated and moves up again. This causes the air to go down and up circular motion, while still being trapped within the valley.

Such extreme conditions are leading to almost complete lack of vegetation, as no living organism could survive in such adverse setting. The surface of the valley is mostly flat, barren and devoid of plants, so there’s nothing to stop the absorption of the sun’s heat by the rocks.

So to sum up, the unusual accumulation of unfortunate factors trapping any heat inside the valley are the reason why the Death Valley the hottest place on Earth.