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10 of the hottest places on Earth

By: Bryan Nelson on June 5, 2013, 5:52 p.m.
Badlands of Australia

Photo: Rob and Stephanie Levy/Flickr

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Australia's Badlands

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth, and much of its interior Outback is a vast desert. Because so few people live in this region, accurate temperature readings are scant or nonexistent. There's simply no reason to maintain sophisticated weather stations in such remote areas.

Nonetheless, scorching temperatures are known here, especially during periods of drought when there is little cloud cover to shelter the hot sands from the sun's relentless rays. In 2003 — a year of particularly severe drought due to the 2002 El Niño-Southern Oscillation — a NASA satellite equipped with MODIS picked up a land surface temperature of 156.7 degrees Fahrenheit in the so-called Badlands of the Queensland Outback.