desert tour iran

Travelling to the Hottest Place in the World

by Ellie Cleary

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Want to travel somewhere different? Iran’s Dasht-e Lut desert is famous for being the hottest place in the world, but is home to awe-inspiring landscapes, too…

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Travel to the World’s Hottest Desert

Have you ever thought about the hottest place in the world? Or heard about where it is?

Officially, the hottest place in the world is the Lut Desert,  Iran.

The hottest place in the world is somewhere in the middle of Iran. It is actually in the center of Lut Desert, or Dasht-e Lut. According to data from NASA’s satellite, it is believed that the Lut Desert is home to the hottest recorded spot on the earth’s surface.

However, there are some debates about this idea, so let’s take a deeper look into this matter.

The Lut Desert Facts

Before talking about whether the Lut Desert is the hottest place or not, it is good to know that the desert is a large salt desert, and actually the world’s 27th-largest desert with an area of 51,800 square kilometers (20,000 square miles).

In Farsi ‘Lut’ literally means bare land without water and devoid of vegetation.

The desert is situated in the south-east of the country, and the eastern part of the desert displays a low plateau covered with salt flats, while the center displays a series of parallel ridges and furrows.

From June to October, this arid area is swept by strong winds.

The main attraction areas of Lut desert, include Gandom Berian, Shahdad Kalut, and Rig Yellen. In addition, the desert is home to diverse animal life, including insects, reptiles, and desert foxes.

In 2016, the Lut Desert was inscribed on Iran UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

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Is the Lut Desert actually home to the hottest spot in the world?

To find a proper answer to this question whether Lut Desert is home to the hottest spot on the Earth or not, we have to look at the scientific evidence.

In 1913, scientists in Death Valley, California measured a temperature of 134°F (56.7°C) and declared it the hottest temperature ever recorded. In 1922, a weather station in Libya recorded a temperature of 136.4°F (58.0°C).

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recognized this observation as the hottest temperature recorded on Earth for some time.

However, according to another research by the University of Montana, using data from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat satellites, neither of these places is the hottest spot in the world.

In a statement by NASA from a team member, “Most of the places that call themselves the hottest on Earth are not even serious contenders”.

In seven years, Running and his colleagues examined infrared data from the Landsat satellites, and found that the winner in five of those years — 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 — was actually the Lut Desert in Iran.

In 2005, a temperature of 159.3°F (70.7°C) was measured, which was the highest temperature ever officially confirmed for a location on Earth.

However, the Lut Desert doesn’t consistently encounter the highest temperature every year.

It is believed that the reason Lut Desert wasn’t previously named as the hottest spot on the world was that “the Earth’s hot deserts — such as the Sahara desert, the Gobi, the Sonoran, and the Lut — are climatically harsh and so remote that access for routine measurements and maintenance of a weather station is impractical,” said team member David Mildrexler.

Queensland, Australia had the highest temperature in 2003, with the record of 156.7°F (69.3°C), and in 2008, Turpan Basin in China had the highest temperature on the earth with the temperature of 152.2°F (66.8°C).

It is worth knowing that the Turpan Basin is covered with dark red sandstone that heats up the extreme temperature, especially in the afternoon sun.

It is good to know that, there are a number of factors that influence the land surface temperature (LST), for instance, changes in solar radiation, changes in land cover and changes in atmospheric conditions, therefore, dry, rocky and dark-colored lands are good at absorbing heat, while lighter sand will tend to reflect more sunlight.

However, some scientists argue that the “hottest place” on the earth should be framed in terms of land temperature, not air temperature. And years of analysis have revealed that parts of Iran and Australia are particularly hot from an LST perspective.

Should you Travel to the Lut Desert?

Do you love silence and having a place to yourself?

Do you enjoy watching the star-gazing at night without the bright city lights?

If so, the Lut desert could be just the place for you. It’s a truly unique location far away from urban noise and hustle. Right now, it’s off the radar of all but the most intrepid travellers, but who knows for how long… If you would like to visit deserts of Iran, especially the Lut Desert, and step on the golden sands of this amazing place with breathtaking nature, now is the time.

The best time to visit the Lut desert is between October and February each year, when the winter temperatures are cooler and you don’t have to worry about being in the hottest place in the world!

Have you been to the desert in Iran? Let us know in the comments below! 

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