At least two cities contend closely for the title of ‘Hottest City in the World’. What city ranks the hottest depends on how you look at the temperatures. Here we compare the world’s most sweltering cities in terms of highest temperatures, hottest nights, and most days of extreme heat. So you can judge which is the World’s Hottest City.
In the world’s hottest cities, temperatures get above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) nearly every day for months at a time. Dozens of cities in the Middle East and Africa have extended periods of 40-degree weather. It’s in deserts along the Persian Gulf, on the Arabian Peninsula and in Iraq and Iran, where cities have exceptionally searing summers. In two cities here, the heat rises above the rest. Only Kuwait City and Ahwaz report having months with daily maximum temperatures averaging above 46 °C (115 °F).
Kuwait City lies on the coast near the head of the Persian Gulf. Capital of the tiny country of Kuwait, the city itself houses just over 30 thousand people, but it adjoins other cities that together form a large metropolitan area extending into the desert.
Ahwaz, also spelled Ahvaz, sprouts from the desert of western Iran with a population of close to a million. Although inland from the Persian Gulf, Ahwaz sits at just 23 metres (75 feet) above sea level.
The only cities that come close to the regular 46-degree temperatures of Kuwait City and Ahwaz lie roughly between the two cities. In southern Iraq, maximum temperatures average 44.8 °C (112.6 °F) in July and August at An Nasiriya, while Al Amarah has average highs of 45.5 °C (113.9 °F) in July and 44.9 °C (112.8 °F) in August.
How Hot is That?
A 46 °C climate is so hot that it’s well beyond the hottest weather ever experienced in many other countries. Forty-six Celsius tops by a degree ( 1.8 degrees F) Canada’s record high temperature and is 7.5 degrees C (13.5 degrees F) warmer than the hottest day in the United Kingdom. Temperatures that would break records in some counties are normal weather, day after day, for several months a year in the world’s hottest cities.
The only place in the United States with 46-degree heat is North America’s hottest spot, Death Valley in eastern California. Summer temperatures at Death Valley soar to average highs of 46.5 °C (115.7 °F) in July and 45.4 °C (113.8 °F) in August.
Death Valley, California
Highest Daily Temperatures
Ahwaz and Kuwait are nearly equal in their average maximum temperatures during the year’s two hottest months. For both cities in July, highs average 46.7°C (116.1 °F).
Most Extreme Heat
Despite Kuwait City having a marginally greater average, Ahwaz leads the way in extreme temperatures. Several times Ahwaz has achieved temperatures higher than those ever recorded in Kuwait City.
From 1970 to 2000, Ahwaz made it to 52 °C (125.6 °F) or more on three days. Ahwaz had a high of 52.0 on July 12, 1971 and 52.2 °C (126 °F) on July 1, 2000. Neither of those broke any temperature records for the city, since it had already reached 54.0 °C (129.2 °F) on July 15, 1967.
Meanwhile, 52 °C has never been officially documented, as of 2010, in Kuwait City.
City With the Hottest Nights
In most hot cities when daytime temperatures top 40 °C, it usually cools down at night to the mid-20s. Just a few cities have a month of nighttime lows that stay above 30 °C (86 °F), and Kuwait City is one.
During the hottest months of the year, Ahwaz at night normally gets about a degree Celsius cooler than Kuwait City. But the Kuwaiti nights are not the warmest among cities.
Even hotter nights occur in Oman, a country located south of Kuwait on the Arabian Peninsula. Several cities in Oman stay above 30 °C at night in summer, including Buraimi, Sur and Rustaq, plus the capital, Muscat. The country’s hottest city that measures weather is Samail, where from June to August nights generally don’t go below 30 degrees. Samail’s hottest nights are in July, which average 31.4 °C (88.5 °F), while the days climb to around 43 °C (109.4 °F).
Average monthly temperatures in °C for Kuwait City, Kuwait (1994-2008)
and Ahwaz, Iran (1994-2005).