John Wheeler: What are the world temperature records?
It is certain that hotter and colder temperatures have occurred without being measured by a thermometer.
FARGO — The hottest and coldest officially recognized temperatures on Earth recorded by actual thermometers are Death Valley, California, at 134 degrees; and -128 degrees at the Vostok science station in Antarctica. It is certain that hotter and colder temperatures have occurred without being measured by a thermometer. Using infrared radiation sensors, the MODIS orbiting satellite has estimated a temperature of 159 degrees in the Lut desert in Iran. This was over a field of darkly colored pebbles which are known to absorb the sun’s rays more efficiently.
The coldest satellite temperature estimate is -139 degrees at 12,000 feet near an Antarctic mountain called Dome Argus. Because the method of estimating temperature from satellite is different from actual thermometer readings, these satellite numbers do not count as records, but it is likely they represent something close to actual extreme temperatures.