Coldest Places on Earth

The Coldest Places on Earth

A funny thing happens in winter. It gets cold. No matter where you are on the planet, it is cold. But there is cold, and there is C-O-L-D. And folks, these places are serious, no kidding around cold.  Here are some of the top coldest places on Earth.

We start with the coldest place — Vostok Station, Antarctica.  The coldest temperature in recorded history, -89.2 degrees C, was recorded here on July 21st, 1983. Vostok Station is a Russian research base where scientists from around the globe do historical climate research by taking core samples deep in the ice.

While Vostok Station is located at the bottom of the world, another place on this list is at the top of the world — Northice Station, Greenland.  The temperature here can get down to -66 degrees C, as it did on January 9th, 1954. Why would someone want to be here? Well, actually, no one has been here since 1954, but it was the base for the British North Greenland Expedition (1952-1954), which was interested in mapping the area and studying its geology.

Returning to the good old USA for a moment, we go to International Falls, MN. Generally considered to be the coldest city in the country, the lowest recorded temperature the last few years is -41.1 degrees C. In fact, the city prides itself as being the “Icebox” of the continental US; the city actually has an Icebox Days Festival featuring the “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run”.

There is controversy, however. International Falls is actually in court with Fraser, CO for the coldest city title. Fraser also reaches temperatures of -40’s C. One interesting thing for certain, however, is that another part of Colorado — the University of Colorado, Denver, to be exact — is the site of the lowest temperature ever created.  In 1995, researchers there, in partnership with scientists from MIT, got the temperature down to one-millionth degree above absolute zero. Now that is cold!

Leaving the lab, we now travel to Snag, Canada. It is so cold here – down to -63 degrees C. That is cold enough for your frozen breath to hang in the air for 15 minutes. The good news is that nobody really lives in Snag. There are no permanent residents and only 5 people are there at a time.

Since we are in Northern Canada, let’s take a trip over to Russia for our next places.  Here we visit two Siberian towns – Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon.  Just like International Falls and Fraser, there is controversy over which is actually the rightful owner of the coldest place prize, although it has not gotten into the courts yet.  Oymyakon, whose name in English would be “Oy, my achin’ toes” reaches temperatures of -71.2 degrees C, as it did on January 26, 1926. Verkhoyansk, whose permanent population numbers 1,300 people, gets temperatures down to -72 C.  The issue is that the Oymyakon temperature noted above was determined through extrapolation, not recorded on an actual thermometer.

There it is, some of the coldest places on Earth. When you step outside this winter, and you think it’s cold. Well, maybe it’s not so bad.