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The coldest place on Earth is even colder than scientists thought

Written by antigreen.blogspot.com

So a few degrees of atmospheric warming is supposed to melt it?? The coldest place on Earth is even colder than thought, a new study has found.

Researchers discovered tiny valleys near the top of Antarctica’s ice sheet reach temperatures of nearly minus 100 degrees Celsius (minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter.

The results could change scientists’ understanding of just how low temperatures can get at Earth’s surface, according to the researchers.

The coldest spot on Earth was found on the East Antarctic Plateau, a high snowy plateau in central Antarctica that encompasses the South Pole.

The record breaking temperatures occur occurred in small hollows 2 to 3 meters (6 to 9 feet) deep in the surface of the ice, on the southern side of high ridges on the plateau.

The record of minus 98 degrees Celsius is about as cold as it is possible to get at Earth’s surface, according to the researchers.

Scientists used satellite data between 2004 and 2016 to come up with the minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit figure, as the eastern plateau of Antartica is a barren, snowy region where surface-based weather instruments aren’t available .

Small low-lying dips in the Antarctic ice sheet had the most frigid temperatures, they found.

Because cold air is dense, it funnels into the dips where it may stay trapped for several days when skies are clear and winds are light.

This is similar to how cold air drains into valley locations at night elsewhere in the world.

Scientists first announced in 2013 they had found the lowest temperatures on Earth’s surface in the area.

Sensors on several Earth-observing satellites measured temperatures of minus 93 degrees Celsius (minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit) in several spots on the East Antarctic Plateau, a high snowy plateau in central Antarctica that encompasses the South Pole.

But the researchers revised that initial study with new data and found the temperatures actually reach minus 98 degrees Celsius (minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit) during the southern polar night, mostly during July and August.

When the researchers first announced they had found the coldest temperatures on Earth five years ago, they determined that persistent clear skies and light winds are required for temperatures to dip this low.

The new study found not only are clear skies necessary, but the air must also be extremely dry, because water vapor traps some heat in the air.

The high elevation of the East Antarctic Plateau and its proximity to the South Pole give it the coldest climate of any region on Earth.

The lowest air temperature ever measured by a weather station, minus 89 degrees Celsius (minus 128 degrees Fahrenheit), was recorded there at Russia’s Vostok Station in July 1983.

SOURCE

Comments (4)

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    jerry krause

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    Where does this very cloudless, dry atmosphere come from?

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    Joseph A Olson

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    Lapse Rate is constant, pole to equator to pole, at 3°C (4°F) per thousand foot altitude. Being several thousand feet altitude above frozen Lake Vostok would be expected. As for water vapor “holding heat”…grow up. NO gas molecule can ” hold” heat.

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    Doug Harrison

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    Please help me. It seems to me that no water vapour could exist in air that is 98 degreesC. Surely it would have become solid (let alone liquid) at those temps and precipitated to ground.

    • Avatar

      Squidly

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      Doug, I agree with you. I found that curious as well. at -98C even CO2 would freeze out of the air.

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