Global Warming? Coldest Temperatures Ever on Earth’s Surface Observed

Researchers working in the Antarctic to study the effects of global warming this week released a report revealing “ultralow surface temperatures” in East Antarctica that surpass the coldest temperatures ever recorded on the earth’s surface.

The lowest measured air temperature on earth was previously recorded as -89.2 °C (-129 F) on 23 July 1983, observed at Vostok Station in Antarctica, but new data published in Geophysical Research Letters this week, has found that some 100 different locations on the East Antarctic Plateau reached temperatures of -98° C (-144° F) during the Antarctic polar night between 2004–2016.

The researchers believe these temperatures are close to the greatest levels of cold that can be reached on the earth’s surface.

A team from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder have identified the East Antarctic Plateau — a massive, empty expanse the size of Australia that begins near the South Pole and is known as one of the dryest places on earth — as the coldest place on the planet.

The East Antarctic Plateau sits some 3,500 m (11,500 ft) above sea level and the air over the Plateau is extremely still, dry and thin, providing ideal conditions for extremes cold.

“In this area, we see periods of incredibly dry air, and this allows the heat from the snow surface to radiate into space more easily,” said Ted Scambos of the University of Colorado Boulder, lead author of the study.

East Antarctica is home to extremely low air and surface temperatures brought on by intense radiative cooling of the snow surface during prolonged wintertime periods of clear sky, weak winds, and very dry atmosphere, the report revealed. These findings tend to conform that water vapour rather than carbon dioxide is the essential greenhouse gas that makes the temperate zones suitable for supporting carbon based life forms and proects life on earth.

The researchers analyzed data from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, as well as the NOAA’s Polar Operational Environmental Satellites, gathered during the Antarctic winters between 2004 and 2016, and found that snow surface temperatures regularly dipped below -90° C (-130° F) across the Plateau, with some 100 spots reaching a lowest temperature of -98° C (-144° F).

Climate Change – Climate Science:


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