Where on Earth Are the Hottest and Coldest Places in the World? 

Death Valley, California is the hottest place in the world, while Oymyakon, Russia is the coldest city in the world.

It is April and most of the United States braces for heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, in the Central American nation of Costa Rica, April is actually the driest month of the year. It shows that the world is place of contrasts, where two places can be very different. Let’s look at one of the biggest contrasts in the world. Let’s look at the hottest and coldest places on Earth. 

The extreme heat in Death Valley, California can be deadly.

The hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134.1 °F. That is about the same temperature as a hamburger that has been cooked medium rare. It was recorded in 1913 at the appropriately named Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California. This was not a freak event. The average temperature in August in Death Valley is 120°F. That temperature can be extremely dangerous to the human body. It can cause dehydration, exhaustion, and heat stroke.  

Despite the dangers, around 300 people live in Death Valley year-round. How do they do it? After living in extreme heat for a long period of time, their bodies adjust to the high temperatures. Most of the homes there have two types of air conditioning. They have normal air conditioning units and they also have “swamp” coolers. These coolers take hot, dry air in, and filter it through wet pads to cool it down. People living in Death Valley still need to be very careful. They need to limit their physical activity during the hottest parts of the day. They also need to take precautions, such as never going on a car trip without a jug of water. 

Sights like this ice-covered house are not uncommon in Oymyakon, Russia, the coldest city in the world.

Oymyakon, Russia holds the title of The Coldest City in the World. In the winter, temperatures are around -60°F. For comparison, water freezes at 32°F. That means Oymyakon gets 90°F colder than an ice cube! Residents of Oymyakon have adjusted their lifestyles to live in their city. Most homes in other parts of the world have pipes that carry water in and waste out. Because of Oymyakon’s frozen soil, many homes there have outdoor plumbing. That means that they use outhouses and bring in buckets of water. Imagine having to bundle up to use the bathroom! 

Sometimes very cold temperatures cause problems for machinery. If someone in Oymyakon left their car parked outside for too long, it might not start again! So, many people have heated garages. If they don’t, they might warm their car up with a fire, or just leave it running all the time. 

What Do You Think? How hot or cold is it where you live? Compare it to the temperatures you have read about in Death Valley, California and Oymyakon, Russia. How much warmer is it in Death Valley? How much wetter is it in Oymyakon, Russia? 

Photo Credits: Top: Meinzahn/iStockphoto/Getty Images; Bottom: Amos Chapple/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images