4 Places That Will Never See a Club Med

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By Martin Lewis

What exactly is the worst climate in the world? Whether a given climate is good or bad is subjective; to a native of northern Alaska, for instance, 75°F can seem miserably hot. But, in general, what makes for the worst climate depends on what you dread the most: fire or ice. Here are 4 places we're not planning on setting up shop.

1. Jacobabad, Pakistan

Anyone averse to fire should avoid spending a summer in Death Valley, California, where the average July temperature is 101°F, or Marble Bar, Australia, which once recorded 161 days in a row when the mercury topped 100°F. Even hotter—or at least more sticky—times can be had in Jacobabad, Pakistan.

Here the average June high temperature is 114°F, with relative humidity averaging nearly 60% in the morning hours.

Dust storms are also frequent at this time of the year. Add to that the prevalence of Islamic extremism and clan feuds in the area, and Jacobabad might not be the ideal place for resort development.

2. Djibouti, Africa

djibouti.jpg At least Jacobabad, like Death Valley and Marble Bar, has relatively pleasant winters. For year-round heat and general unpleasantness, the best selection is probably Djibouti, in northeastern Africa, where it's always hot, always humid, and hardly ever rains. Djibouti's winters are marginally bearable, with average high temperatures in the mid-80s Fahrenheit and relative humidity at midday hovering at 70%, but the rest of the year is something else. By July expect a temperature range from 87°F at night to 106°F in the afternoon, with early morning relative humidity around 60%. The people of Djibouti are especially inclined to seek shelter during the summer months when the khamsin wind blows in from the desert, compounding the heat with ample quantities of dust and grit.

3. Sakha, Siberia

yakutia_photo1.jpgIce haters should avoid the polar areas, but that's easy enough, since no humans live there. Roughly 1 million people, on the other hand, live in Sakha (or Yakutia) in east-central Siberia. In its capital city of Yakutsk, the average January temperature is -45.4°F. Further north, Verkhoyansk enjoys an average January high temperature of -54°F. Cultural practices exacerbate the discomfort: in the winter, the local people traditionally live with their horses and cattle, subsisting on milk tar—an intriguing blend of fish, berries, bones, and the inner bark of pine trees conveniently dissolved in sour milk. Not surprisingly, Russia's Czarist and Communist authorities used to enjoy exiling troublesome intellectuals to this region. But partially as a result, the people of Sakha are now noted for their intellectual and political sophistication.

4. Kerguelen

kerguelen.jpg

Despite its winter frigidity, Sakha's brief summers are sweet. For incessant unpleasantness, look to maritime locations between 50° and 60° latitude, where raw temperatures; brisk winds; and rain, sleet, and snow predominate year-round. Alaska's Aleutian Islands certainly fit the bill, but the best example is probably Kerguelen, a sizable French-owned archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean. Kerguelen experiences precipitation on more than 300 days a year, and its average temperatures range from 35.6°F in July to 45.5°F in January.

Kerguelen has no flying insects—not too surprising considering its average wind speed of 35 kph, which would quickly send the hapless butterfly far out to sea.

Thus even the ubiquitous Kerguelen cabbage, a former godsend for scurvy-racked whalers, has adapted to being pollinated by wind rather than insects.

Ed Note: This list was pulled from Condensed Knowledge, available here.

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January 9, 2008 - 3:05am
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