Extremes on Earth

"Highest" redirects here. For highest places, see Lists of highest points. For high, see high (disambiguation).

This article describes extreme locations on Earth. Entries listed in bold are Earth-wide extremes.

Extreme global temperatures

2015 – Warmest Global Year on Record (since 1880) – Colors indicate temperature anomalies (NASA/NOAA; 20 January 2016).[1]

Extreme elevations and air temperatures per continent

Continent Elevation (height above/below sea level)A Air Temperature (recorded)[2]B
Highest Lowest Highest Lowest
Africa 5,893 m (19,334 feet)
Kilimanjaro, Tanzania[3]
−155 m (−509 feet)
Lake Assal, Djibouti[4]
55 °C (131 °F)
Kebili, Tunisia
7 July 1931C
−23.9 °C (−11.0 °F)
Ifrane, Morocco
11 February 1935
Antarctica 4,892 m (16,050 feet)
Vinson Massif[5]
−50 m (−164 feet)[6]
Deep Lake, Vestfold Hills
(compare the deepest ice section below)
15 °C (59 °F)
Vanda Station
1 May 1974
−89.2 °C (−128.6 °F)
Vostok Station

21 July 1983
Asia 8,848 m (29,029 feet)
Mount Everest, China-Nepal Border [7]
−424 m (−1,391 feet)
Dead Sea, Israel-Jordan-Palestine
54 °C (129 °F)
Tirat Zvi, Israel (then in the British Mandate of Palestine)
21 June 1942
−67.8 °C (−90.0 °F) Measured
Verkhoyansk, Siberia, Russia (then in the Russian Empire)
5 February 1892
−71.2 °C (−96.2 °F) Extrapolated
Oymyakon, Siberia, Russia (then in the Soviet Union)
26 January 1926[9]
Europe 5,642 m (18,510 feet)
Mount Elbrus, Russian Federation[10]
−28 m (−92 feet)
Caspian Sea shore, Russian Federation
48.0 °C (118.4 °F)
Athens, Greece
(and Elefsina, Greece)
10 July 1977 E
−58.1 °C (−72.6 °F)
Ust-Shchuger, Russian Federation
31 December 1978
North America 6,190.5 m (20,310 feet)
Denali (Mount McKinley), Alaska, U.S.A.[12]
−85 m (−279 feet)
Badwater Basin, California, U.S.A.[13]
56.7 °C (134 °F)
Greenland Ranch (Furnace Creek), California, U.S.A.
10 July 1913
−63.0 °C (−81.4 °F)
Snag, Yukon, Canada
3 February 1947
(including Australia)
4,884 m (16,024 feet)
Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid), Indonesia
(compare Mount Wilhelm, Mount Cook and Mount Kosciuszko)[14]
−15 m (−49 feet)
Lake Eyre, South Australia, Australia[15]
50.7 °C (123.3 °F)
Oodnadatta, South Australia, Australia
2 January 1960
−23 °C (−9 °F)
Charlotte Pass, New South Wales, Australia
29 June 1994H
South America 6,962 m (22,841 feet)
Aconcagua, Mendoza, Argentina[16]
−105 m (−344 feet)
Laguna del Carbón, Argentina[17]
48.9 °C (120.0 °F)
Rivadavia, Salta Province, Argentina
11 December 1905
−32.8 °C (−27.0 °F)
Sarmiento, Argentina
1 June 1907
A.^ Height above sea level is the usual choice of definition for elevation. In terms of the point farthest away from the centre of the Earth, Chimborazo in Ecuador (6,267 m (20,561 feet)) can be considered the planet's most extreme high point. This is due to the Earth's oblate spheroid shape, with points near the Equator being farther out from the centre than those at the poles.
B.^ All temperatures from the World Meteorological Organization unless noted.
C.^ The former record of 57.7 °C (135.9 °F) recorded at Al 'Aziziyah, Libya on 13 September 1922 was ruled no longer valid by the WMO due to mistakes made in the recording process.[18]
E.^ Temperatures greater than 50 °C (122 °F) in Spain and Portugal were recorded in 1881, but the standard with which they were measured and the accuracy of the thermometers used are unknown; therefore, they are not considered official. Unconfirmed reports also indicate that a set of Spanish stations may have hit 48.0 °C (118.4 °F) during the 2003 heat wave.[19]
F.^ A temperature of −66.1 °C (−87.0 °F) was recorded at North Ice, Greenland on 9 January 1954. However due to unknown recording conditions it is not considered official.[20]
G.^ A temperature of 53.1 °C (127.6 °F) was recorded in Cloncurry, Queensland on 16 January 1889 under non-standard exposure conditions and is therefore not considered official.[21]
H.^ A temperature of −25.6 °C (−14.1 °F) is reported for Ranfurly, New Zealand having occurred on 18 July 1903. However, it is not listed by the WMO.[22]

Coldest and hottest inhabited places on Earth

Hottest inhabited place Dallol, Ethiopia (Amharic: ዳሎል), whose annual mean temperature was recorded from 1960 to 1966 as 34.4 °C (93.9 °F).[23] The average daily maximum temperature during the same period was 41.1 °C (106.0 °F).[24]
Coldest inhabited place Oymyakon (Russian: Оймякон), a village (selo) in Oymyakonsky Ulus of the Sakha Republic, the Russian Federation, located along the Indigirka River.[25] It has the coldest monthly mean with −50 °C (−58 °F) the average temperature in January, the coldest month.[26] Eureka, Nunavut, Canada has the lowest annual mean temperature at −19.7 °C (−3.5 °F).[27]
The South Pole and some other places in Antarctica are colder and are populated year-round, but almost everyone stays less than a year and could be considered visitors, not inhabitants.

Extreme ground temperatures

Temperatures measured directly on the ground may exceed air temperatures by 30 to 50 °C.[28] A ground temperature of 84 °C (183.2 °F) has been recorded in Port Sudan, Sudan.[29] A ground temperature of 93.9 °C (201 °F) was recorded in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California, United States on 15 July 1972; this may be the highest natural ground surface temperature ever recorded.[30] The theoretical maximum possible ground surface temperature has been estimated to be between 90 and 100 °C for dry, darkish soils of low thermal conductivity.[31]

Satellite measurements of ground temperature taken between 2003 and 2009, taken with the MODIS infrared spectroradiometer on the Aqua satellite, found a maximum temperature of 70.7 °C (159.3 °F), which was recorded in 2005 in the Lut Desert, Iran. The Lut Desert was also found to have the highest maximum temperature in 5 of the 7 years measured (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009.) These measurements reflect averages over a large region and so are lower than the maximum point surface temperature.[28]

Satellite measurements of the surface temperature of Antarctica, taken between 1982 and 2013, found a coldest temperature of −93.2 °C (−136 °F) on 10 August 2010, at 81°48′S 59°18′E / 81.8°S 59.3°E / -81.8; 59.3. Although this is not comparable to an air temperature, it is believed that the air temperature at this location would have been lower than the official record lowest air temperature of −89.2 °C.[32][33]

Greatest vertical drop

Greatest purely vertical drop
1,250 m (4,101 ft)
Mount Thor, Auyuittuq National Park, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada (summit elevation 1,675 m (5,495 ft))[34][35]
Greatest nearly vertical drop
1,340 m (4,396 ft)
Trango Towers, Pakistan (summit elevation 6,286 m (20,623 ft))


Further information: Mining § Records, and List of deepest caves
Deepest mine below ground level 4,000 m (13,123 ft)
Mponeng Gold Mine, Gauteng Province, South Africa
Deepest mine below sea level 2,733 m (8,967 ft) below sea level
Kidd Mine, Ontario, Canada
Deepest open-pit mine below ground level 1,200 m (3,937 ft)
Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah, United States
Deepest open-pit mine below sea level 293 m (961 ft) below sea level
Tagebau Hambach, Germany
Deepest cave 2,197 m (7,208 ft)
Krubera-Voronja Cave, Arabika Massif, Georgia[36]
Deepest pitch (single vertical drop) 1,026 m (3,366 ft)
Tian Xing Cave, China[37]

Greatest oceanic depths

Atlantic Ocean 8,648 m (28,373 ft)
Milwaukee Deep, Puerto Rico Trench
Arctic Ocean 5,450 m (17,881 ft)
Litke Deep, Eurasian Basin
Indian Ocean 7,258 m (23,812 ft)
Java Trench[38]
Mediterranean Sea 5,267 m (17,280 ft)
Calypso Deep, Hellenic Trench
Pacific Ocean 10,971 m (35,994 ft)
Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench[39]
Southern Ocean 7,235 m (23,737 ft)
South Sandwich Trench (southernmost portion, at 60°S)

Deepest ice

Ice sheets on land, but having the base below sea level. Places under ice are not considered to be on land.

Bentley Subglacial Trench −2,555 m (−8,383 ft) Antarctica
Trough beneath Jakobshavn Isbræ −1,512 m (−4,961 ft)[40] Greenland

Northern and southernmost points of land on Earth

Northernmost point on land Kaffeklubben Island, east of Greenland (83°40′N 29°50′W / 83.667°N 29.833°W / 83.667; -29.833)
Various shifting gravel bars lie further north, the most famous being Oodaaq
Southernmost point on land The geographic South Pole

The Gould Coast (Coordinates: 84°30′S 150°0′W)[41] is the southernmost point of ocean while the southernmost open sea is nearby Bay of Whales at 78°30'S, at the edge of Ross Ice Shelf.[42]

See also


  1. Brown, Dwayne; Cabbage, Michael; McCarthy, Leslie; Norton, Karen (20 January 2016). "NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015". NASA. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  2. Global Weather & Climate Extremes World Meteorological Organization
  3. The Kilimanjaro 2008 Precise Height Measurement Expedition. Precise Determination of the Orthometric Height of Mt. Kilimanjaro
  4. Harter, Pascale (2010-12-04). "A life of constant thirst beside Djibouti's Lake Assal". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  5. "Mount Vinson". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  6. Indicator 62 - Water levels of Deep Lake, Vestfold Hills, Australian Antarctic Data Centre. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  7. "The 'Highest' Spot on Earth?". Npr.org. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  8. "Lowest Elevation: Dead Sea". Extremescience.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  9. "Life Is a Chilling Challenge in Subzero Siberia from the National Geographic". News.nationalgeographic.com. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  10. Mount Elbrus at peakbagger.com
  11. The Handy Geography Answer Book: Second Edition. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  12. Mark Newell; Blaine Horner (September 2, 2015). "New Elevation for Nation's Highest Peak" (Press release). USGS. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  13. "USGS National Elevation Dataset (NED) 1 meter Downloadable Data Collection from The National Map 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) - National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) National Elevation Data Set (NED)". United States Geological Survey. September 21, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  14. Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia at peakbagger.com
  15. "Oceaina". Worldatlas.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  16. Aconcagua, Argentina at peakbagger.com
  17. "Lowest Points on Land". Geography.about.com. 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  18. PWMU. "Ninety-year-old World temperature record in El Azizia (Libya) is invalid Improved data strengthens Climate knowledge". Wmo.int. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  19. Europe: Highest Temperature WMO
  20. "Western Hemisphere: Lowest Temperature". Wmo.asu.edu. 1954-01-09. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  21. "Transcript of report on the highest temperature". Abc.net.au. 2003-12-24. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  22. "New Zealand's coldest recorded temperature". Niwa.co.nz. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  23. p. 9, Weather Experiments, Muriel Mandell and Dave Garbot, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2006, ISBN 1-4027-2157-9.
  24. Average of table on p. 26, Extreme Weather: A Guide & Record Book, Christopher C. Burt and Mark Stroud, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007, ISBN 0-393-33015-X.
  25. p. 57, Extreme Weather: A Guide & Record Book, Christopher C. Burt and Mark Stroud, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007, ISBN 0-393-33015-X.
  26. Погода и Климат. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  27. "Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000". Climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca. 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  28. 1 2 p. 855-857, Satellite Finds Highest Land Skin Temperatures on Earth, David J. Mildrexler, Maosheng Zhao, and Steven W. Running, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, July 2011, pp. 855-860, doi:10.1175/2011BAMS3067.1.
  29. Table 9.2, p. 158, Dryland Climatology, Sharon E. Nicholson, Cambridge University Press, 2011, ISBN 1139500244.
  30. A possible world record maximum natural ground surface temperature, Paul Kubecka, Weather, 56, #7 (July 2001), Weather, pp. 218-221, doi:10.1002/j.1477-8696.2001.tb06577.x.
  31. Extreme Maximum Land Surface Temperatures, J. R. Garratt, Journal of Applied Meteorology, 31, #9 (September 1992), pp. 1096–1105, doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1992)031<1096:EMLST>2.0.CO;2.
  32. Coldest spot on Earth identified by satellite, Jonathan Amos, BBC News, 9 December 2013.
  33. The Coldest Place on Earth: -90°C and below from Landsat 8 and other satellite thermal sensors, Ted Scambos, Allen Pope, Garrett Campbell, and Terry Haran, American Geophysical Union fall meeting, 9 December 2013.
  34. "Mount Thor -The Greatest Vertical Drop on Earth!". Dailygalaxy.com. 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  35. "Thor Peak". Bivouac.com. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
  36. "3D model of the Krubera (Voronja) Cave" (VRML). Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  37. Starritt, Alex. "Climbers explore one of world's deepest underground shafts". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  38. Indian Ocean, CIA World Factbook. Accessed on line December 26, 2008.
  39. "Daily Reports for R/V KILO MOANA June and July 2009". University of Hawaii Marine Center. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  40. Plummer, Joel. Jakobshavn Bed Elevation, Center for the Remote Sensing of the Ice Sheets, Dept of Geography, University of Kansas.
  41. Gould Coast US Geographic Survey.
  42. Bay od Whales at britanica.com.

External links

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