The Coldest Place on Earth Is Even Colder Than Scientists Thought

Scientists already knew that the lowest temperatures ever measured on Earth were on a frozen ice ridge in eastern Antarctica, near the South Pole. But they recently discovered that temperatures there can drop even lower than those previously measured.

In 2013, analysis of satellite data pinpointed scattered pockets of intensely cold air on the East Antarctic Plateau between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji — temperatures that dipped to a staggering minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 93 degrees Celsius).

However, new analysis of the same data suggests that under the right conditions, those temperatures can drop to nearly minus 148 degrees F (minus 100 degrees C), which is probably the coldest it can get on Earth, researchers reported in a new study. [In Photos: The Coldest Places on Earth]

On ice-covered Antarctica, the average temperature during the dark winter months is around minus 30 degrees F (minus 34.4 degrees C). For the new study, scientists analyzed data collected during July and August between 2004 and 2016. The temperatures were measured in small basins of the East Antarctic Plateau near the South Pole, at an elevation of 12,467 feet (3,800 meters), the highest part of the ice sheet.The new, record-breaking temperatures were widespread, appearing at 100 locations in depressions dotting "a broad region" of the plateau, the study authors reported.

During the polar winter, long stretches of time elapse with clear skies and weak winds. Together — as long as these conditions last — they can cool the snow surface and drive down temperatures, according to the study.

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...

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