Politics and Elections

What is the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth?

Author: Vibor Cipan Published on: June 10, 2019, and filed under Climate and weather
  • The previous "record", 57.8°C/136.0°F was denounced by the WMO
  • The current official record is 56.7°C/134.1°F, from July 10, 1913
  • In case it gets denounced by the WMO, the new record would be 54.0°C/129.2°F
According to the WMO, the current highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 56.7°C/134.1°F, and it happened on June 10, 1913.

According to the WMO, the current highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 56.7°C/134.1°F, and it happened on July 10, 1913. But it could be on shaky grounds.


Summertime is here. Well, from a meteorological point of view, summer starts on June 1. However, astronomers see the summer starting around June 21 or 22.

One commonly asked question I get is about the temperature records and the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

While there are some conflicting sources, I tried to analyze and research the highest temperature recorded and give some background story on how air temperatures are measured by the World Meteorological Organization.

The highest temperature ever recorded on Earth?

For many years, the record for the highest temperature ever recorded was established in El Azzizia in Libya. Allegedly, the temperature recorded was 57.8°C/136.0°F.

However, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) denounced this record precisely 90 years after it was established – on September 13, 2012.

According to the WMO, the current highest temperature ever recorded on Earth record is 56.7°C/134.1°F, and it happened on July 10, 1913. Coincidentally, 106 years ago.

The location of the highest temperature ever recorded is Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley, California, USA.

However, there seem to be some doubts about this record as well. The World Meteorological Organization publicly announced that they would be willing to reconsider this record as well, in case some additional and more verifiable data appears.

If this record from the Death Valley gets denounced by the WMO, the next highest certifiable temperature record would be the one from July 21, 2016, from Mitribah in Kuwait, where a temperature of 54.0°C/129.2°F was officially recorded.

How is the air temperature measured?

According to WMO standards, the air temperature is measured using thermometers at a height from 1.25 meters and up to 2.0 meters above the ground and within shade – protected from direct sunlight. This height is strictly specified because there can be pronounced vertical temperature gradients close to the ground levels.

The measurements should be taken over the level ground and exposed freely to sunshine and other atmospheric conditions. There should not be shade from trees, buildings, or any other obstructions. The thermometers must be placed within a white protective box with proper ventilation to measure the air temperature. The main reason for this is to ensure that no direct solar radiation reaches the thermometer. This is why people who put thermometers in direct sunlight record extremely high temperatures. They do not see the temperature of the air; they measure the temperature of the thermometer itself.

In addition to these very basic rules and standards, the WMO has very detailed procedures and protocols for measuring temperatures. There is even an ISO standard for air temperature measurements.

Unverified record claims

There are many unverified claims about the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth higher than the official record of 56.7°C. From 57.8°C “recorded” in Cherokee, Oklahoma, all the way to 60°C “recorded” in Kopperl, Texas.

Cooling down or staying warm?

If this talk about record high temperatures are making you sweat and look for some refreshments, you can take a look at the maps and list of the lowest temperatures ever recorded in Europe. But if you still want to stay in this warmth, look at the map and list of the highest temperatures ever recorded in Europe, for every European country!

And if you need even more to cool you down, feel free to explore how the word “snow” is written in different languages and what are the origins of the word “snow.”

Author avatar


Vibor Cipan

With over 15 years of professional work in technology, Vibor Cipan is a recognized leader in this field. His contributions at Microsoft, where he earned the prestigious MVP title, set the stage for his roles as CEO and Co-Founder of UX Passion, and later on, Point Jupiter, a data-informed agency. There, he led teams that shaped services for over 400 million users globally. His work spans UX design and software development, driving significant contributions in both fields.

Currently immersed in the generative AI sector, Cipan is taking part in projects revolutionizing software development and user engagement. His expertise extends into data viz, analytics and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), where he actively develops proofs of concept and explores AI's role in shaping societal dynamics and national security.

An accomplished author and speaker, Vibor continues to share his insights at international venues, advocating for innovation and a richer understanding of technology's impact on society.

You can follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter/X as @viborc.

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