The coldest place on Earth, even colder than scientists thought

Summer in the Vostok Station in Antarctica is still cold, but winter on the top of the East-Antarctic Plateau is as cold as it is on Earth. Credit: Ted Scambos, NSIDC/University of Colorado-Boulder

Scientists already knew that the lowest temperature ever measured on Earth were on a frozen ice ridge in eastern Antarctica, near the south pole. But recently they discovered that the temperatures there can drop even lower than that previously measured.

In 2013, the analysis of satellite data has scattered pockets of intense cold air on the East Antarctic Plateau between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji — temperatures that baptized at least minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 93 degrees Celsius).

However, a new analysis of the same data show that under the right conditions, which temperatures can drop to nearly minus 148 degrees F (minus 100 ° C), which is probably the coldest it can on Earth, researchers reported in a new study. [Photos: The Coldest Places on Earth]

On the ice-covered Antarctica, the average temperature during the dark winter months is around minus 30 degrees F (minus 34.4 degrees C). For the new study, scientists analyzed data collected during the months of July and August between 2004 and 2016. The temperatures were measured in small catchments of the Eastern-Antarctic Plateau in the vicinity of the south pole, at an altitude of 12,467 feet (3,800 meters), the highest part of the ijskap.De new, record-breaking temperatures were on a large scale, at 100 locations in depressions dots, “a broad region of the plateau, the authors of the research reported.

During the polar winter, long stretches of time has passed with a clear sky and a weak wind. Together, as long as these circumstances last — they can cool off in the snow surface and lower temperatures, according to the study.

In 2013 and In the new study, researchers calibrated the same satellite measurements of surface temperatures with the data of the weather stations on the surface of Antarctica. For the new analysis, researchers took a fresh look at the surface weather data. This time, they also take into account the atmospheric dryness of the atmosphere, as drier air makes the snow lose heat faster, lead study author Ted Scambos, senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center of the University of Colorado in Boulder, said in a statement.

With this update, they recalibrated the satellite data and a more accurate measurement of the bone-chilling temperatures in those bags in the vicinity of the south pole. The same spots on the plateau that were previously identified as the coldest on Earth were still one of the coldest, only more so, with about 9 degrees F (5 ° C), the study found.

The new record-low temperature is probably about as cold as it can on Earth. It must be very cold and very dry for several days for a such extreme lows, Scambos explained.

“There is a limit to how long the conditions persist cool to this ultra-low temperatures, and a limit to how much heat you can actually get through the atmosphere because the water vapor has almost non-existent in order to radiate heat from the surface at these temperatures,” he said.

The findings are published online June 25 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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