Kebili, a desert oasis in central Tunisia, can be both sizzling hot and freezing cold, depending on the time of year. In the summer, temperatures here can hit a roasting 131 degrees. And in the winter? You’ll need your mittens. Talk about the worst of both worlds.
4 Taklimakan Desert
The Taklimakan desert in China is known for the Turpan Depression. That’s not a medical condition; it’s a 508-foot-deep mountain basin that ranks as the second-lowest spot on Earth. The average high temperature in this basin hits 102 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months. And here the summer lasts a long, long time.
3 Lut Desert
How does 159 degrees Fahrenheit sound to you? It sounds awful to us. But that’s how hot it got in a dry salt lake in Iran’s Lut Desert in 2005. This desert is so hot that milk can’t spoil here. Bacteria simply can’t grow in such high temperatures. Bacteria aren’t dumb; they don’t want to live in a desert, either.
2 Death Valley
Death Valley, which runs along the California-Nevada state line, earns its name: It’s awfully hard to live here. In July of 1913, the temperature in this 3.3-million-acre desert soared to 134 degrees Fahrenheit, a record for the desert. According to the Weather Channel, in the summer of 2001, temperatures here hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 154 straight days.
1 Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert boasts the dubious honor of being the driest place on the planet. That’s because this 41,000-square-mile desert that stretches across four South American countries barely receives any rain at all. According to the Weather Channel, just 0.004 inches of rain falls on this desert in Chile each year. Surprisingly, there is some wildlife here. Snowmelt from the Andes Mountains provides some sustenance.