Coldest Temperatures Ever Recorded

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The lowest natural temperature ever directly recorded at ground level on Earth is −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F; 184.0 K), which was at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica, on July 21, 1983. Analysis of satellite data indicated a probable temperature of around −93.2 °C (−135.8 °F; 180.0 K), in East Antarctica, on August 10, 2010; however, this reading was not confirmed by ground measurements.

A 2009 study estimated that under exceptional climate conditions similar to those recorded at Vostok in 1983, temperatures higher on the plateau around Dome Argus could potentially drop lower than −95 °C (−139 °F; 178 K). On August 10, 2010, satellite observations measured a surface temperature of −93.2 °C (−135.8 °F; 180.0 K) at 81.8°S 59.3°E, along a ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, at 3,900 m elevation. The result was reported at the 46th annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, in December 2013; it is a provisional figure, and may be subject to revision.

The value may not be listed as the record coldest temperature as it was measured by remote sensing satellites and not by ground-based thermometers, unlike the 1983 record. The temperature announced reflects that of the ice surface, while the Vostok readings measured the air above the ice, and so the two are not directly comparable. However, it is most likely that the real temperature on the site was lower than that recorded at Vostok.

for lists of coldest records, by country, click here.

2016 has proven to be quite a cold year, as well, on December 19th parts of the country were recorded to be colder than the surface of mars (-2 Fahrenheit).

“The high temperature recorded by the Mars Curiosity Rover, where it is located on Mars, was apparently about 17 degrees Fahrenheit. So it was colder in Chicago than the high temperature experienced where the Rover is on Mars,” said Michelle Nichols, Master Educator, Alder Planetarium.

But Nichols said Mars’ atmosphere is significantly thinner than Earth’s. It’s only one percent as thick of Earth’s atmosphere, so there is huge differences between the lows and highs of the day. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.

“The low temperature the Curiosity experienced on December 12th, the low temperature was 103-below zero. So while we have a higher temperature for a high, the low temperature has us beat by quite a bit,” said Nichols.

“It was colder in Chicago than a portion of the planet Mars. Two below (Celsius) was recorded by NASA which is still warmer than here in Chicago,” said Bob Larson, Meteorologist, Accuweather. “It is centered at the Martian equator. That is incredible for a planet that far away from the sun to be even colder in Chicago than they had been at the equator. That’s not representative of the whole planet or where the Rover is but still an incredible statistic.”

Between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Monday morning, the official temperature at Chicago’s O’Hare Internatioanl Airport dipped to a low of 13-below zero, just one degree short of the record set more than 20 years ago in 1983.

“We were one of the coldest places on Earth today. Nearby LaPorte, Indiana recorded an incredible 26-below zero this morning,” Larson said. “North of the border, Lynn Lake, Ontario, near the Manitoba border, 40 below zero. These are actual temperatures.”

Places like Moscow, where it’s traditionally very cold, was even warmer than Chicago, Larson said, with temperatures in the upper 20s.

“The South Pole recorded 12-below zero where it’s just the start of summer,” he said. “Portions of Siberia was 30-, 32-below zero.”

With many of the coldest cities on Earth located in far northern latitudes, arctic air is persistent, plunging normal low temperatures into the double digits below zero.

Accuweather said whether it is the vast Siberian tundra, the Canadian wilderness or far eastern China, residents in these locales routinely face some of the longest and most challenging winter seasons.