How to

22 April 2016

The Top 10 (Naturally) Coldest Places on Earth

Our little blue planet plays host to some truly remarkable, yet undeniably extreme, locations, each presenting its own unique set of challenges. From the depths of the Arctic Circle to the heights of the Alps, the most famed of these environments often come coupled with drastically low temperatures, easily plummeting past sub-zero. So, I hear you asking silently, which locations top the charts when it comes to freezing climates? Read on to discover the top 10.

10. Snag, Yukon (Canada)

Img source:
With recorded lows of -63C, the village of Snag maintains the distinction of experiencing the lowest
temperatures ever recorded in continental North America. Although the average temperature is noticeably higher, their 1933 record still stands, ignoring unverified claims from settlements such as Fort Selkrik. Situated 180km north of Snag, the town purported lows of -65C. The claims were never confirmed, allowing Snag to hold onto its record.

9. North Ice (Greenland)

Img source:
Founded as a British research station during the North Greenland Expedition (1952-1954), North Ice has recorded temperatures as low as -66C. Located well within the Arctic Circle and 2,341 metres above sea level, the North Ice Research Station sees some of the most extreme cold in North America.

8. Klinck Research Station (Greenland)

Img source:
Another research station located within Greenland’s icy expanse, the Klinck Station, named for the Klinck Nunatak (pictured), has reportedly experienced lows of -69.4C. The frozen landscape and harsh winds common in Greenland make for a truly harsh environment, one that should not be taken lightly.

7. Verkhoyansk (Russia)

Img source:
With a population of 1,434 residents, Verkhoyansk is one of the coldest regularly inhabited towns on the planet, beaten only by the next entry on this list. The average temperature winter is approximately -45.4C, but it has dropped as low as -69.8C in the past.

6. Oymyakon (Russia)

Img source:
Another entry from Russia, but when you’re dealing with an area of 17.1 million kilometres you can hardly be surprised. Oymyakon is officially the coldest regularly inhabited town on Earth with recorded lows of -71.2C. Only 472 people reside there, largely due to the extreme weather. The town is known as a prime candidate for the title of Northern Pole of Cold.

5. Mount McKinley / Denali (Alaska, US)

Img source:
The highest peak in North America would probably hold an even higher place on this list if official recordings had been taken. Denali is considered to be the coldest mountain on Earth where temperatures regularly drop to -40C. Much lower temperatures have been unofficially recorded but, due to the lack of weather stations on the peak, it enters this list at number 5.

4. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Img source:
The first entry in this list for the Southern Hemisphere, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, as the name would suggest, is located at the geographic South Pole. Temperatures at the station have been recorded below -73C. The original station was completed in 1975, but strong winds caused snow to build up at a rate of 1.2 metres per year, eventually proving too much for the structure as it became more deeply buried. The combination of rot and pressure caused the roof to collapse in 1975. A replacement geodesic dome was built ahead of the original’s demolition.

3. Dome Argus (Antarctic Plateau)

Img source:
At 4091 metres above sea level, Dome Argus is the highest point of sheet ice in the Antarctic region. This indisputably contributes to the harsh weather conditions, causing temperatures to drop to an all-time low of -82.5C in July 2005. Average conditions aren’t much better, cementing Dome Argus’ place on this list.

2. Vostok Research Station (Antarctic Plateau)

Img source:
Many would place Russia’s Vostok Station at the top of this list, as its 1983 record low of -89.2C is still officially the coldest ever directly recorded on Earth. The station is named as the Southern Pole of Cold and its close proximity to both the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility and the South Geomagnetic Pole make it an ideal location to study changes to the magnetosphere. However, according to relatively recent data, you can still get colder.

1. Dome Fuji Ridge (Antarctic Plateau)

Img source:
Although Vostok Research Station, as previously stated, is referred to as the Southern Pole of Cold, this seems to be due to a technicality in the way records are verified. The Guinness World Records only count temperatures that were recorded directly, whereas the ridge’s remarkable -93.2C low of 2010 was recorded and analysed by NASA from satellite data. NASA tends to be pretty adept at this kind of thing though, so the Dome Fuji Ridge easily takes the top spot on this list.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.