A new study has found that Antarctica is even colder than thought. New satellite data shows that some valleys on the icy continent can reach minus 148 degrees F or minus 100 degrees C.
The past known temperature record for the coldest place on Earth was minus 135 degrees F (93 degrees C).
- Researchers said they detected the new temperature record in the East Antarctic Plateau. They used satellite data and some data taken from ground stations.
- Older readings were adjusted in the process.
The lowest temperature for the South Pole based on satellite data is minus 144 degrees F (minus 98 degrees C), according to researchers. The research team noted that the new record marks a temperature that is “about as low as it is possible to reach.”
I’ve never been in conditions that cold, and I hope I never am,
research team member Ted Scambos said.
Scambos explained that it can be so cold that you have to pay attention not to freeze your lungs or throat when breathing in. Satellites found such low temperatures only in some small areas at depths of up to 9.8 feet.
Two Types of Records
However, the new record does not beat a previous temperature record recorded with ground instruments. Russian researchers detected a temperature of minus 128 degrees Fahrenheit (89 degrees C) on the East Antarctic Plateau in July 1983.
The newest record was recorded by space satellites, and scientists studying the South Pole like to keep the two types of measurements separate. Weather stations usually record air temperature above the ground, while satellites can measure our planet’s surface’s temperature.
The new study also revealed that extremely low temperatures occur in the region when the air is extremely dry, the sky is clear, and there are light winds. Water vapors in the atmosphere tend to raise the temperature up.
Image Source: Norsk Polarinstitutt