Scientists record new coldest temperature on Earth

Newly analysed data showed the temperature plunged to -93.2C (-135.8F) in August 2010

Rob Williams
Tuesday 10 December 2013 12:09
Comments
1. Dome Fuji ridge East Antarctic Plateau –93.2C.
1. Dome Fuji ridge East Antarctic Plateau –93.2C.

The ice 'event' that recently swept across the US brought with it temperatures of -41C.

Chilly, no doubt - but nothing compared to the record low temperature that researchers claim to have recorded near a ridge on the East Antarctic Plateau.

Click here to see our list of the ten coldest places on Earth

Newly analysed data showed the temperature plunged to -93.2C (-135.8F) in August 2010 breaking the previous record for the coldest ever recorded temperature.

Researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, joined a team of researchers reporting the findings on Monday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

They made their discovery by analysing global surface temperature maps using data from remote sensing satellites. After studying 32 years' worth of data they found that temperatures had plunged to record lows on dozens of occasions on a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji on the East Antarctic Plateau.

The new record low temperatures smash the previous low of 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica.

The report also maintains that the “winters of 1997, 2001, 2003, and 2004 showed several temperature minima below -90°C.”

Ice scientist Ted Scambos, at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, announced the cold facts at the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco.

"It's more like you'd see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles," Mr Scambos said. "I'm confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth."

"Thank God, I don't know how exactly it feels," Scambos said. But he said scientists do routinely make naked 100 degree below zero Fahrenheit (73 degree below zero Celsius) dashes outside in the South Pole as a stunt, so people can survive that temperature for about three minutes.

In temperatures as low as the reported record researchers needed to breathe through a snorkel that brings air into the coat through a sleeve and warms it up "so you don't inhale by accident" the cold air, Scambos said.

Waleed Abdalati, an ice scientist at the University of Colorado and NASA's former chief scientist, and Scambos said this is likely an unusual random reading in a place that hasn't been measured much before and could have been colder or hotter in the past and we wouldn't know.

"It does speak to the range of conditions on this Earth, some of which we haven't been able to observe," Abdalati said.

Despite the new recorded low it will not be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records because the temperatures were satellite measured, not from thermometers, Scambos said.

Video: Antarctica sets new record for coldest place on Earth

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