Coldest Place on Earth Even More Colder Than We Knew, Study Says

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The lowest air temperature ever measured on the planet Earth by an official weather instrument, 128.6 degrees below zero, was recorded in that area, at what was then the Soviet Union's Vostok Station in July 1983.

But the researchers revised that initial study with new data and found the temperatures actually reach minus 98 degrees Celsius (minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit) during the southern polar night, mostly during July and August.

Since it is impossible to install a weather station in the area, Scambos and his team looked at satellite data from 2003 to 2016 to see just how cold it got in the area.

But a new analysis of satellite data finds the planet's coldest spot is even more frigid, and can see temperatures plunge as low as almost minus 100 degrees Celsius (minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit) at night during Antarctic winter.

To do so, they 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.

The study found that according to the NSIDC, the temperature in the large part of the temperature plateau falls below minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

The coldest place on Earth is much colder than previously thought.

In order for temperatures to drop to such ungodly lows, the weather needs to be within certain fixed conditions: the sky needs to be clear and the air must be bone-dry for days at a time.

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"There's a limit to how long the conditions persist to allow it to cool to these ultralow temperatures and a limit to how much heat you can actually get through the atmosphere, because water vapor has to be nearly nonexistent in order to emit heat from the surface at these temperatures", said Ted Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and study lead author.

Scientists already knew that the lowest temperatures ever measured on Earth were on a frozen ice ridge in eastern Antarctica, near the South Pole.

A view of the surface of East Antarctica, with snow blown into small dunes. The air must also be as dry as possible, as water vapor, which is a greenhouse gas, can retain heat in the atmosphere.

Such freezing temperatures occur in tiny pockets on the ice, the satellite readings show, up to 3 metres (or 9.8 feet) deep. The scientists say the temperature could potentially sink even lower, though an unusually long run of clear skies and dry air would be needed. Scambos's team suspected that it could get even colder at the very highest parts of the ice sheet.

In 2013 and in the new study, researchers calibrated the same satellite measurements of surface temperatures with data collected from weather stations on Antarctica's surface. This is odd considering that some were located hundreds of kilometers apart. In other words, the scientists found minus 98 Celsius seemed to represent the floor or the theoretical minimum for how cold it can get. "Seeing any new temperature lows will be more and more unlikely".

However, new analysis of the same data, which was published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, suggested that it can get even colder on the East Antarctic Plateau.

However, they've designed new ground measurement equipment capable of dealing with the extreme cold, which they plan to deploy in the next two years.

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