Coldest Place on Earth

  • Released Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What is the coldest place in the world? It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6° Fahrenheit (minus 92° Celsius) on a clear winter night - colder than the previous recorded low temperature.

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the MODIS sensor on NASA's Aqua satellite, and the TIRS sensor on Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The researchers analyzed 32 years of data from several satellite instruments that have mapped Antarctica's surface temperature. Near a high ridge that runs from Dome Arugs to Dome Fuji, the scientists found clusters of pockets that have plummeted to record low temperatures dozens of times. The lowest temperature the satellites detected - minus 136° F (minus 93.2° C), on Aug. 10, 2010.

The new record is several degrees colder than the previous low of minus 128.6° F (minus 89.2° C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica. The coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth is northeastern Siberia, where temperatures dropped to a bone-chilling 90 degrees below zero F (minus 67.8° C) in the towns of Verkhoyansk (in 1892) and Oimekon (in 1933).

Related feature story: http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-usgs-landsat-8-satellite-pinpoints-coldest-spots-on-earth

This visualization starts with a global view and then zooms down to Antarctica textured by LIMA data. To bring out the subtle topographical ridges, the topography is exagerrated by 60x. Then, the MOA shaded relief dataset is featured. Next, NOAA's AVHRR minimum temperature is shown followed by NASA's AQUA/MODIS minimum temperature. Frequency < 185 degrees kelvin are shown. Finally, all temperatures that are less then 181 degrees kelvin (-92 degrees celsius or -134 degrees Fahrenheit) are shown. The coldest temperature recorded from 2003 through 2013 is -93.2 degrees Celsius on August 10, 2010. On July 31, 2013 it was -93.0 degrees celsius.

NOAA/AVHRR Minimum Temperature colortable

NOAA/AVHRR Minimum Temperature colortable

AQUA/MODIS Minimum Temperature colortable

AQUA/MODIS Minimum Temperature colortable

AQUA/MODIS Minimum Temperature Frequency below  185 degrees Kelvin.

AQUA/MODIS Minimum Temperature Frequency below 185 degrees Kelvin.

To bring out the subtle ridge between Dome F and Dome A, this image exaggerates the topography by 60x and uses the Bamber Shaded Relief data as its texture.

To bring out the subtle ridge between Dome F and Dome A, this image exaggerates the topography by 60x and uses the Bamber Shaded Relief data as its texture.

The electric blue dots show the most extremely cold temperatures recorded on our planet between 2003 and 2012 on our planet, -92 degrees Celsius or 181 degrees kelvin.

The electric blue dots show the most extremely cold temperatures recorded on our planet between 2003 and 2012 on our planet, -92 degrees Celsius or 181 degrees kelvin.



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Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.
This page was last updated on Sunday, June 23, 2024 at 10:15 PM EDT.


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