Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
By: Christopher C. Burt , 6:43 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Warmest Places on Earth: Average Annual Temperature
There are many sources detailing what the hottest places in the world are so far as all-time maximum observed temperatures have been, including previous blogs I’ve posted on WU concerning such and Maximiliano Hererra’s Wikipedia page of world temperature records.. However, no one has yet detailed what the warmest overall sites in the world are in terms of highest average annual temperature. Here is a list of such researched by climatologist Maximiliano Hererra and covering each continent and also a collection of significant sub regions.
NOTES ABOUT THE DATA
The average annual temperatures may vary slightly according to how they are calculated and also in which way the daily average temperatures are calculated (metadata, min/max divided by 2, etc..). Obviously they also vary according to the periods of record (POR’s). An effort has been made to take into account the latest POR’s, provided they contain reliable data. In a few cases, when the distance between the ‘winner’ and the runner-ups was small, and within a margin of error, the runner-up sites have been identified. The rough decimal latitudes and longitudes for each site are included. The temperatures are in both degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius with (in the blog text) the original data source coming first: i.e. if the measurements were made originally in F° then that is listed ahead of the C° and visa versa, so one understands how the translation for each figure was determined.
WARMEST LOCATIONS ON THE SEVEN CONTINENTS
1. Africa: Dallol, Ethiopia: 94.0°F/34.4°C (POR 1960-1966)
Only a few years of data exist for this site, measured by a mining company from 1960-1966, and with quite a bit of unreliable data. There is, however, no doubt that the Danakil Depression ( lowest elevation -381’/-116 m) in Ethiopia (where Dallol is located) and perhaps the Lake Assal Depression (lowest elevation -492’/-150 m) in nearby Djibouti (for which there is no climate data) are, on average, the hottest year-around places on Earth. Keep in mind that the 94°F (34.4°C) annual average of Dallol may not be its true average temperature given how short the period of record is.
Monthly temperature table for Dallol during the POR of 1960-1966. Elevation of the site was -248’/-75 m below sea level. Source ‘World Survey of Climatology: Climates of Africa’, Vol. 10, p. 142.
For inhabited locations in Africa Berbera in Somalia, Djibouti City, and Assab and Massawa in Eritrea may be the warmest African towns but due to wars and despotic governments little modern data for these sites is available. Assab averaged 30.2°C (86.4°F) for the POR of 1961-1990 but there were many gaps and errors in the data. During the colonial era Berbera had an average annual temperature of 85.5°F (29.7°C) for the POR of 1908-1950 as did Massawa from 1932-1950. Djibouti City in the eponymous named nation may perhaps also be considered in the same league with the other sites named above with a colonial era average annual temperature of 86.0°F (30.0°C) for the POR of 1901-1954. For the POR of 1961-1990 Djibouti averaged 29.9°C (85.8°F) but climatology suggests that Berbera and Massawa may be a bit warmer than Djibouti City if we had more up to date records. In any case, in no way are any of these towns even close to the heat of the Danakil and Assal Depressions.
The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is almost certainly the hottest place in the world so far as average annual temperature is concerned. A mining site at Dallol in the depression maintained weather records for the period of 1960-1966 and averaged 94.0°F (34.4°C) year around. This photo is of Black Lake near Dallol. Photo by Roland Gerth.
2. Asia: Makkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia: 30.7°C/87.3°F (POR 1980-2009)
This average is for the Makkah (Mecca) Airport location.
Mecca (Makkah), Saudi Arabia is not only the hottest place in Asia but also the hottest city in the world in terms of its average annual temperature of 30.7°C (87.3°F). Getty Images.
3. South America: Guaymaral, Colombia: 29.4°C/84.9°F (POR 1971-2000)
Guaymaral in Colombia is near the town of Valledupar, Cesar Department.
Guaymaral is near the city of Valledupar (pictured above) in a deep valley in the Cesar Department of far northeastern Colombia. With its average annual temperature of 29.4°C (84.9°F) it would be the warmest site with a weather station in South America. Photographer not identified (from Trip Advisor.com).
4. Australia: Wyndham Port, Western Australia: 29.4°C/84.9°F (POR 1961-1990)
The warmest place in Australia and also probably in the entire southern hemisphere is the Port site near the town of Wyndham (pictured above) in Western Australia where the temperature averages 29.4°C (84.9°F) year around. Photo from Wikicommons.
5. North America (Canada+USA+Mexico): Escuintla, Chiapas State, Mexico: 28.2°C/82.8°F (POR 1981-2010)
Most of the data from Mexican AWS (Automated Weather Stations) is of very bad quality, therefore data from stations with irregular or unreliable data have not been considered. For instance at Ciudad Altamirano in Guerrero State (which would climatologically be one of the warmest Mexican States in terms of average annual temperature) the data for the past years has become very irregular, so the last reliable POR for Ciudad Altamirano is the 1971-2000 POR with a 28.0°C (82.4°F) annual average, slightly cooler than that of Escuintla, which is a DGE (Direccion General de Epidemiologica) station, with purportedly better quality data than the AWS sites.
The only image purportedly of Escuintla in the Chiapas State of Mexico I could find on the web. Good climate data for Mexico is hard to come by but the best, most reliable figure for warmest place (average annual temperature) seems to indicate this small town of 9,000 people. With an average annual temperature of 28.2°C (82.8°F) it would be the warmest place in North America. Photographer not identified
6. Europe: Ierapetra, Crete, Greece: 19.7°C/67.5°F (POR 1956-1997)
The HNMS (Hellenic National Meteorological Service) calculated the temperature averages for various sites in different ways than in any standard way. So, depending on how you calculate the daily averages (min/max or hourly average), the yearly temperature averages (averages of each month during the whole POR’s, year by year ...) it would appear that the Ierapetra yearly average can vary between 19.1°C (66.4°F) and 19.7°C (67.5°F). Even so, 19.1°C would still be 0.1°C higher than Lampedusa Island (Italy) with an annual average temperature of 19.0°C (66.2°F) and also 0.3°C higher than the Seville and Almeria Airport (Spain) averages.
The resort and historic town of Ierapetra on the island of Crete in Greece is the most likely candidate as the warmest place in Europe with its annual average temperature a pleasant 19.7°C (67.5°F). Photo from ‘Visit Greece’ tourism board.
7. Antarctica (conventionally below 60S): Arctowski (Polish station), St. George Island: -1.6°C/29.1°F (POR “for the past 30 years”-exact years of this POR not clear)
…followed by King Sejong (South Korean Station) -1.7C (28.9°F), also located on King George Island.
The warmest place on the coldest continent is the Arctowski Polish research base (pictured above) on the island of King George, part of the South Shetland Islands chain off the coast of Graham Land, Antarctica. Wikipedia image.
WARMEST LOCATIONS IN IMPORTANT SUB REGIONS
8. Asia (outside of the Arabian Peninsula): Klong Thoey, Bangkok, Thailand: 30.3°C/86.5°F (POR 1981-2010).
Nellore, India with a 29.2°C (84.6°F) annual average for the POR of 1961-1990 is/was the warmest location in India. Later POR data for Nellore is not available. During the past 30 years, thanks to urbanization, Bangkok Metropolis and specifically the downtown Bangkok Klong Thoey station, have seen their annual average temperatures rise higher than Nellore.
Outside of the Arabian Peninsula, it now appears Bangkok (specifically the downtown Klong Thoey site) has become the hottest site in Asia thanks to the Bangkok’s massive urbanization over the past 30 years (the metro population is estimated to be around 10 million). Daily high temperatures reach 33°C (90°F) almost everyday of the year and the actual average annual temperature year around in Klong Thoey District is a sweltering 30.3°C (86.5°F) according to the most recent POR of 1981-2010. Photo from Wikicommons.
9. Extra Tropical (anywhere outside the tropics 23.5°N-23.5°S): Mezyed, U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates): 29.2°C/84.6°F (POR 2003-2012)
There are various spellings of the name of this site (Mazyed, Mezyad, etc..)
A photograph of Mezyed Fort, ostensibly in or near the location mentioned above. Photographer not identified and source in Arabic (which I am unable to translate).
10. Central America: La Union, El Salvador: 28.8°C/83.8°F (POR 20 years, dates not specified)
Choluteca, Honduras with an annual average temperature of 28.7°C (83.7°F) is in a statistical dead heat with La Union.
Photo of the port of La Union, El Salvador. Photographer not identified, from paxgaea.com
11. Oceania (aside from Australia): Tarawa, Kiribati: 28.3°C/82.9°F (POR 1961-1990)
Funafuti, Tuvalu is almost as warm as Tarawa with a 28.2°C (82.8°F) annual average temperature. In fact, this could be considered a statistical dead heat.
An aerial image of the Kiribati Parliament House in Tarawa, Kiribati. Photo from janersture.com,
12. Caribbean: Aruba Airport, Netherlands Protectorate, Caribbean Islands: 28.1°C/82.6°F (POR 1981-2010).
For the 1971-2000 POR the average annual temperature for Bonaire (also part of the same Netherlands Protectorate as Aruba) was 28.0°C (82.4°F) which beat Aruba’s 27.8°C (82.0°F) for that same POR. The 1981-2010 Bonaire data is not yet available. The Venezuelan Island of Margarita has a site called Punta de Piedras on its south coast with an annual average temperature of 28.2°C (82.8°F) for the 1971-2000 POR and does lie in the Caribbean Sea, however, politically it is part of South America.
The Airport at Aruba, Netherlands Protectorate is perhaps the warmest location in the Caribbean. Photo from Pilot Publishing, Inc.
13. U.S.A: Marathon Airport, Middle Keys, Florida: 78.5°F/25.8°C (POR 1981-2010)
The warmest site in Hawaii is 77.9/25.5°C at Kailua Kona Ahole Airport on the west coast of the Big Island. POR 1981-2010.
A view of Marathon, Florida located in the Middle Keys of Florida’s Key Island chain and the airport of which (visible running down the middle of the island in the photo above) is officially the warmest site in the U.S. (including Hawaii) according to the most recent 1981-2010 NCDC data. Its average annual temperature is 78.5°F (25.8°C). Photo by Carmen Powers.
14. Arctic (above the Polar Circle at 66.56°N): Tennholmen Island, (west of Bodo), Norway: 5.6°C/42.1°F (1961-1990)
There are several locations in Norway with this name or something close to it including another Tennholmen Island at 70.75°N. The Tennholmen I refer to is a tiny dot of an island west of Bodo and has virtually nothing on it but a lighthouse with a weather station.
Tennholmen Island Lighthouse off the coast of Norway 32 kilometers (20 miles) west of Bodo and in operation since 1901. Photo from Norsk Fyrhistorisk Forening.
WHAT ABOUT THE COLDEST (AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURES) PLACES ON EARTH?
Max and I will make an attempt of what these might be for inhabited regions at some point in the future.
KUDOS: Thanks to Maximiliano Hererra for researching the climatological data. This subject (of warmest annual average temperatures on Earth by continent and region) has never been systematically researched or published previously.
Christopher C. Burt
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