Sunniest Places and Countries in the World

Two regions dominate the top ten list of the sunniest places in the world. Half of the ten sunniest places on record are in the American southwest states of Arizona, Nevada and Texas. The other sunny region is in northeast Africa. It spans southern Egypt, northern Sudan and northern Chad, taking in the Nile Valley and deserts to the west.

Yuma, located in western Arizona near the borders with Mexico and California, is the only place on earth confirmed to bask in more than 4000 hours of sunshine a year. Altogether 90 percent of the daylight in Yuma is sunny. Year round, Yuma averages 11 hours of sun a day.

Yuma's sunniest month is June, when it's sunny for 97 percent of the time between sunrise to sunset. The month gets a total 415 hours of sunshine.

The rankings here are based on the sunshine averages for 1961 to 1990 that were provided for 129 countries and territories to the World Meteorological Organization. These come from 1800 weather stations scattered across all the continents, ranging from the Antarctic to the northern tip of North America. Altogether, climate stations around the world average 2334 hours of sun a year, equal to 6 hours and 24 minutes of sunshine a day.

Average hours of sunshine for the ten sunniest places on earth
Country Place Year Day
United States Yuma, Arizona 4015 11.0
United States Phoenix, Arizona 3872 10.6
Egypt Asswan 3863 10.6
United States Las Vegas, Nevada 3825 10.5
Sudan Dongola 3814 10.4
United States Tucson, Arizona 3806 10.4
Chad Faya-Largeau 3792 10.4
Egypt Kharga 3791 10.4
Sudan Abu Hamed 3763 10.3
United States El Paso, Texas 3763 10.3

10 Sunniest Countries on Earth

Many of the world's sunniest countries are on the African continent, ranging from Kenya, east to Niger and north to Eqypt. Other countries with sunny places are nearby Madagascar and United Arab Emirates.

Only two countries outside of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula make the list of ten sunniest countries. These are Australia and the United States, where dry desert areas get lots of sun.

Countries with the most sunshine: average hours of sun
Country Place Year Day
United States Yuma, Arizona 4015 11.0
Egypt Aswan 3863 10.6
Sudan Dongola 3814 10.4
Chad Faya-Largeau 3792 10.4
South Africa Upington, Northern Cape 3732 10.2
Niger Bilma 3674 10.1
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 3609 9.9
Madagascar Tulear (Toliara) 3597 9.9
Kenya Lodwar, Turkana 3578 9.8
Australia Tennant Creek, Northern Territory 3569 9.8

Places With the Most Sunshine Each Month

Despite its unsurpassed annual total of sunny hours, Yuma only tops the list of sunniest places for one month a year. Rather than a spike of sunny weather for a season or two, Yuma's claim to sunniest spot comes from having reliably sunny weather all year long, never dropping below an average eight hours a day in any month.

The sunniest month of all worldwide is in May at Eureka in northern Canada. The Arctic outpost on Ellesmere Island, averages 16.5 hours of sun a day for May. That total is just the bright sunshine and doesn't count faint rays skimming across the horizon.

Canada's Nunavut Territory is also where the most sunshine happens in April. Alert is the northernmost permanent settlement in the world, located at the northeast end of Ellesmere Island, just 817 kilometres (508 miles) from the North Pole and in April has 377 sunny hours. Being so far north, all those hours of bright sun account for only 55 percent of Alert's daylight.

But the land of the midnight sun gets enough cloud during summer for the world's sunniest spot to shift all the way south to Sacramento, California. During July, Sacramento achieves the sunniest month for any city on earth with an average of 14 hours and 12 minutes a day, accounting for 98 percent of its daylight time.

During the northern hemisphere's winter, the sunniest places move south of the equator. Uppington, a town in Northern Cape province of South Africa tops the list for sunshine from November through January.

During the shoulder seasons, sunny regions in Asia take over. Songkhla, a city on the Malay Peninsula of southern Thailand is the world's sunniest spot in February and Khalkhgol in eastern Mongolia has the most sun for October.

World's sunniest places by month: average hours of sunshine
Month Country Place Monthly Daily
Jan South Africa Upington, Northern Cape 353 11.4
Feb Thailand Songkhla 349 12.5
Mar United States Yuma, Arizona 336 10.8
Apr Canada Alert, Nunavut 377 12.6
May Canada Eureka, Nunavut 512 16.5
Jun United States Sacramento, California 420 14.0
Jul United States Sacramento, California 440 14.2
Aug United States Sacramento, California 407 13.1
Sep United States Sacramento, California 348 11.6
Oct Mongolia Khalkhgol 335 10.8
Nov South Africa Upington, Northern Cape 345 11.5
Dec South Africa Upington, Northern Cape 367 11.8

World Data Center for Meteorology. Climate of the World.

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