The hottest accepted recorded temperature on Earth is 134 degrees recorded in Death Valley, Calif, in 1934. This recording is under scrutiny and, if disallowed, would be replaced by the 130-degree temperature registered in Death Valley this past Aug. 16. The coldest recorded temperature, which is undisputed, is 128.6 degrees below zero at Vostok Station, Antarctica. These are “recorded” instrument data. The vast majority of locations on the planet are without a thermometer.

Until recently, we could only guess the actual hot and cold potential for our planet, but weather satellites can now estimate ground temperatures by measuring the wavelength of emitted infrared radiation. Using this method, the hottest temperature estimated is 159.3 degrees in an uninhabited spot in the Lut Desert of Iran. The coldest is 135.8 degrees below zero on an uninhabited glacier in eastern Antarctica. It is no wonder that these places are uninhabited.

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