According to a new study published this week in the AGU (American Geophysical Union) journal Geophysical Research Letters, several spots on the East Antarctic Plateau reach temperatures of nearly -100 °C (-148 °F) during the Antarctic the winter. Researchers re-examined the data from several Earth-observing satellites and found that the coldest place on Earth is even colder than previously thought.
“The lowest measured air temperature on Earth is -89.2°C (-129 F) on 23 July 1983, observed at Vostok Station in Antarctica (Turner et al., 2009). However, satellite data collected during the Antarctic polar night during 2004-2016 reveals a broad region of the high East Antarctic Plateau above Vostok that regularly reaches snow surface temperatures of -90°C and below. These occur in shallow topographic depressions near the highest part of the ice sheet, at 3800 to 4050 m elevation. Comparisons with nearby automated weather stations suggest that air temperatures during these events are near -94±4°C, or about -138 F. Ultra-cold conditions (below -90°C) occur more frequently when the Antarctic polar vortex is strong. This temperature appears to be about as low as it is possible to reach, even under clear skies and very dry conditions, because heat radiating from the cold clear air is nearly equal to the heat radiating from the bitterly cold snow surface.”