Perennially chilled Pacific Northwest folks are naturally interested in warmth and so I thought I might share some results of very interesting article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, which attempts to find the hottest place on earth and here in the NW. (Article is by David J. Mildrexler, Maosheng Zhao, and Steven W. Running of the University of Montana)
Do a search on the warmest place on earth and you typically get El Azizia, Libya with a record air temperature (at 2 meters) of 136F measured in 1922. Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park comes close 134.1F. But there is another way to measure temperature--- determining the temperature of the ground (the skin temperature) from space. We can do this by measuring the amount of radiation emitted by the ground (sort of like a super ear thermometer that uses similar technology) Now this satellite approach has the advantage that it measures the temperatures everywhere and there is a good chance there is no observation at the hottest locations (who would want to live or work there!). On the negative side, this is not air temperature, which is generally less than skin temperature on hot, sunny days--sometimes a LOT less.
Anyway, these folks at U. of Montana used data from 2003-2009 from the MODIS satellite, which has a resolution of roughly 6 km (so it is probably missing the absolutely hottest points).
Ok, get your icy drink ready...here is the answer. This graphic shows you the results. The warmest location seems to be in the Lutt desert of Iran. The second graphic shows you a blow up of the temperatures and an image of that desert. Looks like hell. It is like hell.
Several places come very close....but Lutt is the winner.
But what about the Pacific Northwest--where is the warmest ground to be found (I suspect there is going to be a stampede there in a few weeks)? Here is the graphic. The left shows the temperatures and the right the land use (click on image to expand)..
Looks to me that the warmest location is on the Hanford reservation where there is no irrigated fields. Such fields have a large impact on temperature, something you can see by comparing the temperature map (blown up version below), with a google maps satellite image (also shown). Evaporation off irrigated fields can cool temperatures down several degrees (F).
No jokes about warming from the radiation at the Hanford facility...this is not the cause. And there are a few warm locations just south of the state boundary as well. Anyway, another reason to head to the Tri-cities during the spring and fall when it gets cool on the west side. But don't try this during winter!---the lowest elevations of eastern Washington are cool and cloudy in midwinter, as cold, moist air settles into the terrain bowl in that area.