Antarctica records coldest temperature on Earth at -94.7° C
Newly analysed data from East Antarctica says the remote region has set a record for soul-crushing cold, at minus 94.7 degrees Celsius (-135.8 degrees Fahrenheit). The old record had been -89.2 degrees Celsius.world Updated: Dec 10, 2013 16:08 IST
Newly analysed data from East Antarctica says the remote region has set a record for soul-crushing cold.
The record is minus 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 94.7 Celsius).
A new look at NASA satellite data revealed that Earth set a new record for coldest temperature recorded. It happened in August 2010 when it hit -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-94.7 Celsius). Then on July 31 of this year, it came close again: -135.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-92.9 Celsius).
The old record had been -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-89.2 Celsius).
Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced the cold facts at the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco on Monday.
"It's more like you'd see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles," Scambos said, from the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco yesterday (Monday), where he announced the data. "I'm confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth."
However, it won't be in the Guinness Book of World Records because these were satellite measured, not from thermometers, Scambos said.
"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.
Most of the time researchers need 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.
VIDEO: The coldest place on Earth
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.
A number of human activities become extremely difficult at such low temperatures.
The human skin does not keep the body warm at such temperatures. In the winters, the thick snow and long hours of darkness considerably affect vision. In summers, the strong ultraviolet radiation from the hole in the ozone layer can cause great damage to the eyes unless special protection is used.
Interestingly, it would become extremely difficult to pass urine in East Antartica if the temperature was recorded 26 degrees Celsius lower, because the freezing point of urine is minus120 degrees Celsius. This should make it obvious why there is little to no habitation of the region.