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Coldest temperature on Earth: minus 136 degrees

Dec. 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM   |   Comments

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A Colorado researcher told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco he has recorded the lowest temperature on Earth in Antarctica.

Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, told the meeting Monday his team recorded a temperature of minus 136 degrees Fahrenheit in pockets scattered near a high ice ridge between a pair of East Antarctic Plateau summits, LiveScience reported Tuesday.

Scambos said the snow in the location "would be colder than dry ice,"

It's "50 degrees colder than anything that has ever been seen in Alaska, or Siberia," he said.

The temperature reading was taken using satellite readings after scientists notices cracks in the snow between large snow dunes on the plateau.

Scambos said the cold pockets are believed to result from dense, cold air getting stuck while moving downward.

"I'm confident the pockets are the coldest places on Earth," Scambos said. "I wouldn't be here if I wasn't pretty sure we were colder than Vostok."

The World Meteorological Organization's record for coldest temperature was a reading of minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit at the Vostok Research Station in Antarctica in July 1983.

Topics: Ted Scambos
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