Picture a desert. Maybe you see sand dunes and cacti, maybe some rocks and the skeleton of a deceased animal, circled patiently by a vulture. Perhaps you can feel your skin burning just standing there under that intense imaginary sun.
Desert ecosystems are inhospitable places to most organisms — they're always dry and often hot, at least some of the time. However, there are two different classifications for deserts: hot deserts and cold deserts. A cold desert, like the Gobi Desert in East Asia, is very dry, but doesn't often get much hotter than Paris in springtime, although the wintertime temperatures often have a negative sign in front of them. But hot deserts are what come to mind when we think of desert ecosystems.
Hot deserts are situated around the equator, so their temperatures can be very high during the hottest months — average temps might hover between 84 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (29 and 35 degrees Celsius) with midday spikes often exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). Hot deserts are not only blisteringly hot, they're dry and sunny. While there's no real way to rank the hottest deserts on Earth — all the hot ones are really, really hot, OK? — here are five of the hottest spots on the planet: