7 Hottest Deserts on Earth are Absurdly Warm

Written by Emilio Brown
Updated: November 14, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Eduardo Cabanas
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Deserts are one of the many habitats on earth. Antarctica is the largest desert in the world, but extreme heat is what most deserts are known for. Here you will find 7 of the hottest deserts on earth and how absurdly warm these places can get. 

Hot deserts can be found around the globe, and many of them stretch for thousands of miles. Temperatures above 120 °F (48.8 °C)  scorch the barren landscape, but some deserts reach temperatures higher. Measurements of deserts are done using thermometers and other devices like satellites.

Let’s take a look at the 7 hottest deserts on earth and the endless wonders to be found in these barren wastelands. 

What is a Desert

Deserts make up around 33% of the earth’s land and are the home of many different plant and animal species. Deserts are landscapes that receive little precipitation and, often, are barren. Hot temperatures are not required for deserts, as Antarctica is also considered a desert since rain and snow are rare. 

There are more than 20 different types of deserts in the world, and they are all very dry

5 different types of deserts:

  • Coastal Deserts
  • Subtropical Deserts
  • Rain Shadow Deserts
  • Interior Deserts
  • Polar Desert

The deserts around the world have a variety of plants and animals. Here are 7 of the hottest deserts in the world and interesting things to know about them. 

1. The Thar Desert 

At its hottest, the Great Indian Desert can reach temperatures of up to 123 °F (51°C).

iStock.com/Roop_Dey

LocationHighest Temp RecordedSize
Asia-Rajasthan 123 °F (51°C)91,990mi²

The Thar desert also holds the name “the Great India Desert” and is a blistering wasteland of sandy plains, hills, and a little salt lake habitats. The Thar desert is located west of the Aravalli mountain in Rajasthan, and sandy hills make up most of the Thar Desert. Covering around 77,000 square miles of space, it is the largest desert in its region. 

At its hottest, the Great Indian Desert can reach temperatures of up to 123 °F (51°C), and it is hot most of May and June. Few plant life can be found in the Thar desert, most of which are scrub or herbaceous plants that can survive in high heat conditions and have little water. The Thar Desert is one of the hottest deserts in the world but is home to hundreds of different animals that can tolerate the heat. 

2. The Arabian Desert

The Arabian Desert is home to barren sands and amazing cities

SelimBT/Shutterstock.com

LocationHighest Temp RecordedSize
Asia-Saudi Arabia 133 °F (56.1°C)716,400mi²

Located in southwestern Asia, the Arabian desert is very large and is around 716,400 square miles large. Most of the desert is sand, and the Arabian desert is one of the hottest and largest deserts on earth. The desert is dry, with temperatures that reach up to 133 °F (56.1°C). Saudi Arabia is where most of the desert lies, and parts of it also extend into Yemen, Jordan, and Abu Dhabi. 

Around 900 plant species can be found in the Arabian desert, 102 mammals, and 310 different bird species. Various lizard species, snakes, sand cats, foxes, wolves, camels, and other types of heat-adapted animals live within the Arabian desert. 

Temperatures of this desert remain high around the year, as lots of the desert is at low elevation. The Arabian Desert has its highest temperatures around August. 

3. The Mojave Desert

Mojave Desert California
Amboy Crater

iStock.com/Attila Adam

LocationHighest Temp RecordedSize
North America- United States134 °F (56.6°C) 47,877 mi²

The Mojave desert is one of the hottest deserts in the world and one of the warmest in North America. California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada are the states where this desert is located. It is 47,877 square miles large and has various habitats like salt marshes, pal oases, scrubs, riparian, cactus yucca scrub, and Joshua tree woodlands. 

The summer in the months from early to mid-June to September is when the desert heat peaks. Death Valley has the record for the highest air temperature recorded on earth when it reached 134 °F (56.6°C) in the Furnace Creek region within California of the Mojave desert. 

Animals like the Gila monster, giant desert hairy scorpion, burrowing owls, jackrabbits, and much more life in the Mojave desert. Hundreds of different types of animal species call the desert their home and are adapted for the heat.

4. The Sahara Desert

Desert

Utilisateur:Jgremillot / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

LocationHighest Temp RecordedSize
Africa 136 °F (57.7°C) 3.552 million mi²

The Sahara desert is the world’s largest hot desert and covers most of Africa‘s North half. The Sahara desert covers around 31 percent of Africa and is filled with plants and wildlife accustomed to the dry desert climate. Sand dunes, dry valleys, and salt flats are some of the area’s landscapes. The Sahara desert has around 70 mammals, 100 reptiles, and 90 bird species living in the desert. 

Some of the animals in the Sahra include:

Woody plants like Acacia trees, cypress, and palm trees cover this desert, and it is estimated there are around 1.8 billion trees in the Sahara. A large portion of the Sahra is covered with sand dunes, covering around 25% of the desert. 

5. The Taklamakan Desert

This desert is often called the desert of death.

iStock.com/Hans Harms

LocationHighest Temp RecordedSize
Asia-China 152°F (66.6°C)123,550mi²

The Taklamakan desert is one of the hottest places on earth and is one of the driest deserts in China. The flaming mountains in the desert’s northern part are one of the barren lands’ hottest areas. The mountain temperatures have been recorded at a temperature of 122 °F (50 °C) and have been shown to get up to highs of 152°F (66.6°C). The flaming mountains get their name from their high temperatures and red-colored sandstone.

Being one of the hottest deserts on earth, there is little plant life in the desert. Animals like rabbits, foxes, camels, boars, and other species that can tolerate high heat and dryness live in the Taklamakan desert. Vast amounts of sandy hills 

Water is rare in the desert, so passing through it is extremely deadly. This desert is often called the desert of death, but tourists love to visit the area because of the scenery and historical connections with the silk road. Being one of the earth’s hottest deserts, temperatures stay high year-round.

6. The Lut Desert

The Lut desert is one of the hottest and one of the most barren places on earth.

iStock.com/Ozbalci

LocationHighest Temp RecordedSize
West Asia-Iran 177.4°F (80.8°C)20,000mi²

The Lut desert is located in southeast Iran and is one of the hottest deserts in the world. This desert’s surface area was measured with a satellite and read an extremely hot 177.4°F (80.8°C), tying with the hot temperature of the Sonoran desert. NASA has taken readings from these desserts showing the surface temperature gets as hot as 159.3°F  regularly, and it is at its hottest in the summer months. 

Foxes, cats, rabbits, spiders, snakes, scorpions, birds, and other animals live in the Lut Desert. Because of its heat, no one can survive in the heart of this desert. The Lut desert is one of the hottest and one of the most barren places on earth, and the lack of water and high heat make it hard for life to sustain in this area. 

7. The Sonoran Desert 

The Sonoran Desert is iconic for its cactuses and fauna

LHBLLC/Shutterstock.com

LocationHighest Temp RecordedSize
North America-Mexico/USA177.4°F (80.8°C)86,100 mi²

The Sonoran desert is the hottest desert on earth and ties the Lut Desert with a temperature recorded from a satellite saying the area was an extremely hot 177.4°F (80.8°C). Mexico is where a large portion of the desert lies, but it also can be found in southern California and Arizona. The Sonoran desert is 86,100 square miles large and one of North America’s most diverse deserts. 

While a blazing desert, the Sonoran desert has over 2,000 plants that can survive the higher temperatures. Around 60 mammals, 100 reptiles, 30 fish, 20 amphibians, and over 350 bird species are in the Sonoran desert. Temperatures are usually high in the North American desert, but it is at its most hot in July. 

Up Next: 

Atacama Desert
The Valley of the Moon is a desert place and tourist attraction, located in the Atacama Desert, 13 km west of San Pedro de Atacama and declared a nature sanctuary.
iStock.com/Eduardo Cabanas
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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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