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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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 did not encounter the highest temperature every year.
It is believed that the reason Lut Desert didn’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.
This article has been adapted from its original source.