With the help of satellite data, scientists have recently tried to find out how cold can the temperatures get on Earth. Their study might come as a surprise. This week, a study was published in Geophysical Research Letters, illustrating a research made by scientists who wanted to determine how far below zero can the temperatures drop on our planet. In order to learn about this, they had to take a look at Antarctica’s eastern plateau, whose temperatures can get as cold as 144 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.
An extremely cold place and a snowy region, Antarctica doesn’t provide the scientists with too many options to study the weather conditions. As instruments that could analyze the surface are not available on these lands, the researchers had to use satellite data collected between 2004 and 2016. Based on the information that was analyzed, they reached minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit.
Light winds and clear skies create the best conditions for the temperatures to drop drastically. The dense cold air that goes into small dips in the Antarctic ice sheet can stay trapped there for a few days. This is why the most bitterly cold temperatures were recorded in these dips.
Another key factor that plays an important role in the creation of such extreme cold temperatures is the dry air. According to Ted Scambos, the lead author of the study, there are periods of very dry air that allow the heat coming from the snow surface to “radiate into space more easily”.
The coldest temperature on Earth
The study actually observed that almost every winter, in a large area of the plateau, temperatures could fall below minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Apparently, between 2004 and 2016, approximately 100 locations from this area had surface temperatures of minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the information that was gathered by satellites, and researchers seem to conclude that the temperature we just mentioned must be one of the coldest we could get on Earth.
Stacy Richardson is a seasoned journalist with 15 years experience.. She has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Stacy covers stories affecting local politics and economy. Contact Stacy here.