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Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
These spots would even give Mr. Freeze the chills. For this list, we’re taking a look at areas around the world with reportedly low temperatures. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth.

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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth

These spots would even give Mr. Freeze the chills. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Coldest Places on Earth.

For this list, we’re taking a look at areas around the world with reportedly low temperatures.

#10: Snag, Yukon, Canada

Canada is called the Great White North for a reason. It might not be submerged in snow all year round, but the seasonal freezing weather has played a major role in shaping the country’s culture. Heck, ice hockey was showcased on one iteration of the Canadian five-dollar bill! While Canada has seen its fair share of frosty days, the White River village of Snag, Yukon literally took things to a new low. On February 3, 1947, the temperature dropped to -62.7°C or −81.4 °F, the lowest ever recorded in the entire country. Ironically, though, this temperature is actually pretty high compared to some of the others on our list today. Just think about that for a second.

#9: North Ice, Greenland

With more visible snow than grass, Greenland might have a misleading name, but the name of this retired research station told people upfront to bundle up with several layers of sweaters. Part of the British North Greenland Expedition, North Ice functioned from 1952 to 1954. Within that two-year window, temperatures below −59.4 °C or -74.9 °F were recorded a total of 16 times. During its final year of operation, the research team recorded one of the lowest temperatures ever to grace Greenland. On January 9, the unrelenting cold plummeted to −66.1 °C or -87 °F. North Ice might be a dot on Greenland’s map, but it still has its place in history, largely due to the ridiculously icy weather.

#8: Verkhoyansk, Russia

This Russian town is one of the most unique places on our list. While Verkhoyansk is known for being infamously chilly, it’s also gotten extremely hot throughout history. The town even claimed the Guinness world record for Earth’s greatest temperature range, with a swing of over 100 °C or 180 °F: at its most smoldering, Verkhoyansk has heated up to over 37.3 °C or 99.1 °F. At its coldest, though, the temperature can plummet all the way down to negative numbers. In February 1892, Verkhoyansk reached its lowest temperature ever at roughly −67.6 °C or −89.7 °F. For a period of time, this was also the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. Fittingly enough, that record would eventually be broken by the next entry on our list.

#7: Oymyakon, Russia

In addition to being Russian territories, both Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk have the distinction of being part of the northern Pole of Cold, which encompasses some of the world’s lowest temperatures ever recorded. Like Verkhoyansk, Oymyakon is also one of the few places with a temperature range that exceeds 100 °C or 189 °F. Although the heat can bear down on residents during the summers, Oymyakon will always be associated with its freezing climate. On February 6, 1933, Oymyakon's weather station recorded a temperature of around −67.7 °C or −89.9 °F. This beat out Verkhoyansk’s record for the Northern Hemisphere’s coldest temperature, albeit by a slim margin. You wouldn’t want to travel between Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk in the dead of winter.

#6: Klinck Research Station, Greenland

North Ice isn’t reportedly the only research station in Greenland that’s endured subzero temperatures. Of course, that makes sense, seeing how three-quarters of the country is basically a sheet of ice. Between 1987 and 1992, Klinck, which is named after the isolated glacial island of Klinck Nunatak in Antarctica, was part of a research project. The Space and Engineering Center of the University of Wisconsin, Madison operated an automated remote weather station there, and it had a definite pay-off. They notably recorded a temperature of -69.4°C or -92.9°F on December 22, 1991. Talk about freakin’ freezing!

#5: Denali, Alaska

We all know that parts of Alaska are among the coldest places in the United States, but Denali takes the low temperatures to new heights. As a matter of fact, this is North America’s tallest mountain above sea level with a summit that skyrockets to over 20,000 feet. Back when the mountain was better known as Mount McKinley, the U.S. Army Natick Laboratory left a thermometer at the 15,000 feet point where it remained from 1950 to 1969. Throughout that time, the lowest temperature recorded came in at −73 °C or −100 °F. And that recording was from only 15,000 feet; imagine how cold it might be at the peak!

#4: Dome Argus, Antarctic Plateau

Antarctica on the whole has a population of just over 1,000 people. Interestingly enough, the continent’s penguin population vastly outweighs the number of human residents. The point is that it takes a special kind of person to endure this land’s unrelentingly cold climate. A group from the Chinese National Antarctic Research Expeditions was up for the challenge in January 2005, however, as they found the highest point of Dome Argus. Multiple automatic weather stations were set up at this ice dome, which is located on the Antarctic Plateau. In July 2005, the dome’s coldest air temperature was recorded at −82.5 °C or −116.5 °F. Believe it or not, though, Antarctica gets even nippier than that!

#3: Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica

When people think of the coldest locations in the world, the North Pole is probably one of the first that comes to mind. Weirdly enough, however, the often-overlooked South Pole is actually colder than its northern brother, complete with an ice sheet that’s over 9,000 feet in elevation. You likely won’t find a colder spot here than the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. Established in 1956, this U.S. research station sits atop the high plateau of Antarctica. The lowest temperature ever recorded here was −82.8 °C or −117.0 °F on June 23, 1982. Of course, even the highest temperature was still gelid at −12.3 °C or -9.9 °F on December 26, 2011. That’s the South Pole equivalent of a Christmas miracle.

#2: Vostok Station, Antarctica

For our next entry, we travel to the southern Pole of Cold where Russia’s Vostok Station was established by the Soviet Union in 1957. Even giving the South Pole a run for its cold hard money, Vostok is easily one of the chilliest places in the world with winter temperatures averaging at −68 °C or −90 °F. Summers may be a bit less brutal with an average of −31.9 °C or −25.4 °F. Then again, the station faced its coldest day ever on July 21, 1983 when the temperature fell all the way down to −89.2 °C or −128.6 °F. At the time, this was the single coldest temperature ever measured on earth and some would argue that Vostok still holds the record.

#1: Dome Fuji, Antarctica

As you probably expected, Antarctica has dominated a good portion of this list. The continent topped itself on August 10, 2010 when temperatures were recorded at a staggering -93.2°C or -135.8°F. These measurements were taken from a bunch of pockets close to a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji using satellite-created surface-temperature maps. Both of these are summits on the East Antarctic Plateau. Since the World Meteorological Organization only acknowledges temperatures taken a few feet above the surface, it’s been debated whether or not this truly counts as the all-time record. However, scientist Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center is “confident the pockets are the coldest places on Earth,” even more so than Vostok. And who are we to argue? It’s not like any of us are going to Antarctica any time soon to find out for ourselves!


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