Having “the highest air temperature on the planet,” Death Valley is well recognized. On July 10, 1913, the Furnace Creek region in the California desert soared to a scorching 134.1 degrees Fahrenheit or 56.7 degrees Celsius.
Death Valley experiences summertime average temperatures that frequently reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit, or 45 degrees Celsius.
But in 2021, the Sonoran Desert along the Mexican-American border and the Lut Desert in Iran registered scorching surface temperatures of 177.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 80.8 degrees Celsius.
According to NASA, the circulation of air masses ascending and sinking into the atmosphere, as well as wind moving across the landscape, impact air temperatures. In contrast, the temperature of land surfaces is controlled by “radiation from the sun, the atmosphere, and other heat flows,” according to NASA.
As a result, air temperatures may be hotter on the surface.