- Vostok, Antarctica gets less than 10 inches of snow each year and it’s technically a desert. Still, it’s downright cold here. The coldest temperature ever recorded was minus 128.56 degrees Fahrenheit. French, Russian and American scientists are currently drilling a hole through the 12,139 foot thick ice sheet.
- Like all areas south of the equator, the Plateau Station in Antarctica experiences winter during our summers. The lowest temperature ever recorded here was in July – a chilly minus 119.2 degrees.
- In Oymyakon, Siberia, school children don’t get a snow day unless the temperature dips below minus 61 degrees. It’s cold here most of the year and the lowest temperature ever recorded was -96.16 degrees F. Despite the cold, over 200,000 people live here. Brrr!
- In fourth place, sits Verkhoyansk, also in Siberia. This small town near the Arctic Circle is home to fur trading and reindeer farms. The coldest temperature recorded here was minus 93.64 degrees F.
- The North Ice in Greenland was once site of a British research station. The lowest temperature ever recorded here was minus 86.8 degrees.
- The tiny village of Snag in the Canada Yukon can only be reached by road during the summer. Snow mobiles can take you there in the winter. The coldest temperature ever recorded here was minus 81.4 degrees, recorded in January.
- Situated 25 miles north of Fairbanks, the small town of Prospect Creek experiences cold temperatures most of the year. Summers are short and the weather has gotten worse in recent years. The coldest temperature ever recorded here was -80 degrees.
- Fort Selkirk, a former trading post on the Yukon River in Yukon, Canada can only be reached by plane or boat. The coldest temperature recorded here was minus 74 degrees.
- Eismitte, which means ice center in German is an ice covered portion of Greenland. The record cold temperature here was minus 64.9 degrees. Other areas have experience colder temperatures, but Eismitte remains frigid all year long. Grab your mittens and some hot cocoa!
- Rogers Pass in Wyoming sits on top of the Continental Divide. The lowest temperature ever recorded here – minus 70 degrees is also the coldest temperature recorded in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
Siberia, renowned for housing some of the earth’s chilliest locales, notably includes Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk among the top ten coldest places.
These isolated villages, deeply embedded in the Siberian wilderness, endure harsh temperatures that can dramatically dip below -50 degrees Celsius. Oymyakon, often dubbed the ‘Pole of Cold,’ recorded a record-breaking low of -67.7 degrees Celsius.
This severe, icy environment epitomizes the extreme weather conditions of Siberia, while simultaneously emphasizing the remarkable adaptability and resilience of both human and animal life thriving amidst these frosty landscapes.
As the southernmost continent, Antarctica houses some of Earth’s most chillingly cold locations, exemplifying the planet’s harshest climate extremes. In the ranking of the top ten coldest places, Antarctica claims nine spots, underlining the continent’s inherently hostile environments that pose constant survival challenges and essentially preclude human habitation.
The coldest temperature ever recorded was an astonishing -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit at Russia’s Vostok Station, situated in Antarctica. Other Antarctic locations notorious for their extreme cold include Dome Fuji, Dome Argus, and Plateau Station.
The only non-Antarctic location that made the top ten list is Oymyakon, Russia, which comes in tenth place. This stark contrast underscores the extreme severity of Antarctica’s climate, as compared to the rest of the world.
Ice caps, typically smaller than ice sheets and covering less than 50,000 kilometers, predominantly envelop the Earth’s coldest regions. Such regions include the high peaks of Antarctica, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, all renowned for their vast ice caps.
Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk in Siberia hold the record for the chilliest inhabited locations, with temperatures plunging to as low as -50 degrees Celsius and freezing local rivers solid. Alaska’s Denali, Montana’s Rogers Pass, and Norway’s Finnmark Plateau’s ice caps are stark symbols of Earth’s polar extremes due to their extreme cold.
The last two of the top ten coldest regions, the Tibetan Plateau in Asia and the Southern Andes in South America, are marked by icy landscapes as a testament to the severe cold they persistently withstand.
The top ten coldest places on earth, largely dominated by immense, ancient glaciers such as those in Antarctica, Greenland, and Siberia, are a stark testament to the grandeur and harshness of our planet’s extreme cold zones.
These regions, highlighting the climatic diversity of Earth, are characterized by their chilling severity. The East Antarctic Plateau in Antarctica holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded at a staggering -89.2°C. Greenland, with its ice sheet covering about 80% of the land, is the second-largest in the world. Siberia’s small town Oymyakon, surrounded by perpetual frost and glaciers, is renowned as the coldest inhabited place on earth.
The remaining seven of the top ten coldest places, including regions in Canada, the United States, and Norway, all share the common characteristics of severe cold climates, high altitudes, and continuous glacier presence, each adding to the awe-inspiring cold landscape of our planet.
The polar climate, known for its consistently low annual temperatures, presides over the coldest regions on Earth including most of the top 10 coldest places. These freezing locations are primarily situated in the high Arctic regions of Siberia, Russia, such as the record-setting Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk, where temperatures can plunge to an icy -90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Antarctica, another realm defined by the ruthless polar climate, is home to the Earth’s coldest spot – a high ridge where temperatures can drop to below -130 degrees Fahrenheit. Additional frigid locations on the list are Norilsk in Russia, Yellowknife in Canada, and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, all reflecting the harsh conditions of the polar climate.
Despite the inhospitable conditions for most life forms, these areas offer invaluable study opportunities relating to climate change since impacts of global warming are often more noticeable in polar climates.
Permafrost, a common feature in the top ten coldest places on Earth such as Russia’s Oymyakon, Canada’s Yellowknife, and Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar, is a layer that remains frozen throughout the year, extending hundreds of feet below the surface, encapsulating the soil, rock, and organic material in frozen stasis for millennia due to the extreme cold temperatures.
While these areas may seem inhospitable, they are home to a variety of plant and animal species that have uniquely adapted to these conditions.
However, these ecosystems’ stability is under increasing threat from global warming, which could lead to the thawing of permafrost and release large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane that have been trapped for thousands of years, contributing to atmospheric changes.
In some of the earth’s coldest regions, subzero temperatures are a routine phenomenon, manifesting the sheer power of nature and challenging human resilience and adaptability. Renowned for their extraordinarily brutal weather conditions, these locations, including Russia’s Oymyakon, Antarctica’s Vostok Station, and Canada’s Yellowknife, frequently register temperatures plummeting below -50 degrees Celsius.
Life in these locales necessitates unique adaptations to endure the severe cold, with human habitation calling for specialized infrastructure and procedures. Offering an intriguing insight into our planet’s climatic extremes, these places where temperatures often plunge below freezing point, underscore the fascinating diversity of earth’s environmental conditions.
The Arctic Circle, home to some of Earth’s chilliest locales, is notorious for temperatures that can plunge below -50 degrees Celsius. The remote Siberian towns of Oymyakon and Norilsk are among the coldest, famous for their harsh winters.
North America’s coldest points include Alaska’s Prospect Creek and Yukon’s Snag, while Greenland’s North Ice, a British research station, also makes the list. In Antarctica, the East Antarctic Plateau features the high ridge Dome Fuji and Dome Argus, where temperatures have nosedived to a staggering -90 degrees Celsius.
Vostok Station, another location on the East Antarctic Plateau, holds the record for the lowest temperature ever at -89.2 degrees Celsius. These frosty locales provide a stark insight into the icy reality of life within the Arctic Circle.
The Tundra biome, characterized by frost-shaped landscapes, extreme cold, scant precipitation, poor nutrients, and short growing seasons, is home to the planet’s ten coldest locations, each contributing to its unique biodiversity and climate dynamics.
Locations in this biome include Oymyakon in Russia, known as the coldest inhabited place, and Plateau Station in Antarctica, which holds the record for the lowest naturally occurring temperature. Other icy, permafrost-ridden locations with sparse vegetation, such as Norilsk in Russia, Yellowknife in Canada, and Barrow (Utqia?vik) in Alaska, are also part of this biome.
Upernavik and Ilulissat in Greenland, Iqaluit in Canada, and Verkhoyansk and Dikson in Russia also form part of the Tundra, each showcasing a variety of adapted flora and fauna. These regions play a crucial role in global climate regulation, particularly through carbon sequestration, further underscoring the importance of the Tundra biome.
Polar Nights, a captivating spectacle where the darkness of night extends beyond 24 hours, swathes the earth’s coldest regions in a mesmerizing yet eerie gloom. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in areas such as the Siberian towns of Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk in Russia, where the temperature can dip to a bone-chilling -58°F and -50°F respectively.
Similarly, the high Arctic region of Canada, encompassing locales such as Snag, Yukon, and Eureka, Nunavut, also endure Polar Nights, with temperatures plunging to depths of -63°F and -40°F respectively. Alaska’s Prospect Creek and Fort Yukon too face the brunt of this phenomenon, with temperatures plummeting to an extreme low of -80°F during these prolonged winter nights.
Greenland’s North Ice and Denmark’s Station Nord also witness the intense cold, with temperatures reaching -66°F and -47°F respectively. However, the crown for the coldest temperature ever recorded during a Polar Night goes to Antarctica, where the Russian Vostok Station registered an astonishing -128.6°F.
Don’t forget International Falls, Minnesota, which gets an average of 65.5 inches of snow each year. The average temperature in International Falls in January is 2.7 degrees. International Falls locals say their town is the coldest place in the United States, but the people of Fraser, Colorado disagree. This town, situated in the Rocky Mountains, has long, snowy winters and temperatures can dip to freezing even in the summer. The two towns have been arguing for over 10 years about which one is the coldest.
Fun Facts about the Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth for Kids
- Rogers Pass is also a favored route of Golden Eagles for their annual migration over the Continental Divide
- Many places on earth that experience these extremely cold temperatures also experience times of extended daylight. Some, like Eismitte near the middle of Greenland, have months where the sun is constantly in the sky and does not rise or set at all.
- It is amazing how some animals can not only survive, but thrive in cold weather. Prospect Creek, Alaska has a population of brown bears, black bears, bald eagles and more that don’t seem to mind the extreme changes in temperature.
- Verkhoyansk has experienced odder things than just cold weather. In January of 2012 Verkoyansk was attacked by a migrating pack of about 400 wolves. Sounds like a plot for a horror movie, doesn’t it?
- The cold also seems to be a good preservative. The Plateau Station was only in use for 3 years back in the late 1960’s. When visited and inspected in 2007 it was found to be mostly intact even after being vacant for almost 40 years.
Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth Vocabulary
- Trading: instances of buying, selling or bartering goods and/or services
- Migration: moving to live, breed or find a new home
- Continental Divide: raised line or area dividing a watershed
- Temperature: a measurement of cold or heat
- Frigid: very cold; lacking all warmth
- Situated: Located in a particular place
- Extreme: greatest or highest degree; far beyond normal
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Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth Q&A
Question: Why are scientists trying to drill a hole through the ice sheet at Vostok?
Answer: Scientists wanted to learn more about the earth’s history. From the ice cores the drilled at Vostok they now have a record of 420,000 years’ worth of past environmental conditions covering four prior glacial periods.
Question: How do scientists choose sites to do this kind of research?
Answer: It depends on what they are looking to learn. Scientists that selected the North Greenland Ice Core Project site wanted to ‘see’ a long and undisturbed record of environmental history that would show into the last glacial period. They selected an area that even under the ice would be flat so their core samples would not be distorted.
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