Which 10 places on Earth are the coldest?

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Which 10 places on Earth are the coldest?

For the coldest temperatures ever recorded, these places are not places you’d want to live. If you plan to visit, be sure to bring a coat.


People can barely stay alive in the coldest places on Earth, but brave travellers and scientists who have good insulation have found ways to do it.

Most of the places below won’t work with regular thermometers. If you let your skin get cold, it would freeze in minutes, and as you breathe out, the water drops in your breath turn into crystals. You’ll need a coat, as your mum might say.

It’s also true that many of these places have been the site of important and ground-breaking study. Geology, astronomy, climate studies, and extreme biomedicine have all done very well in these harsh conditions.

So grab a hot chocolate and read on to learn about the world’s chilliest places.

10. Snag, Canada’s Yukon

Snowy ice range at Snag, Yukon, Canada
© Alamy

It is -62.7°C outside.

When: In February 1947

In Yukon, Canada, in a bowl-shaped valley, there is an abandoned town called Snag. It was there that a record-low temperature was recorded during a strange winter in the 1940s.

People in the area said that when they breathed out, their breath would freeze in the air and fall to the ground as white dust because it was so cold.

The even stranger thing was that people could be heard several miles away because the air was so cold and dense.

9. No Ice in North Greenland

Frozen wasteland at North Ice, Greenland© iStock

-66.1°C is the temperature.

When: In January 1954

This study station was set up by the British North Greenland Expedition in 1952. At first, it was reached by dog sleds, but then military planes dropped supplies and tools for a group of scientists and explorers to use.

At that point in time, 1954 was the coldest year ever recorded in the northern hemisphere.

Geology, seismology, physiology, and glaciology were just some of the areas of study that the trip looked into.

Russian city of Oymyakon

Icy sunset at Oymyakon, Russia© Maarten Takens, via Wikimedia Commons

The temperature is -67.8°C.

When: In February 1933

This part of rural Russia is sometimes called the coldest permanently inhabited town on Earth. We’d love to hear real estate agents try to sell it. There are less than 1,000 people living there, and it’s between two hills that trap cold winds and make the weather worse.

Local schools only close when temperatures drop below -55°C, even though the area is frozen all winter.

7. The study station Klinck in Greenland

Snowmobile in arctic tundra© euphro, via Wikimedia Commons

The temperature is -69.4°C.

When: In December 1991

Greenland is the world’s biggest island, but it doesn’t have many people because a huge ice sheet covers most of it.

Scientists have to ride snowmobiles through rough terrain with their equipment on their feet to set up weather stations in this harsh climate.

Still, it was worth it. These stations have logged some of the worst weather in the northern hemisphere, as well as important climate science.

The Klinck Research Station is near the top of the ice sheet, straight in the path of the driest, coldest weather on land.

Russian city of Verkhoyansk

It is -69.8°C outside.

When: in February 1892

This Russian town is frozen in the Arctic Circle and is home to about 1,000 people. It is known as the northern “Pole of Cold” because it has the coldest temperatures ever recorded in the northern hemisphere.

Its weather is unique because of the Siberian High, an area of cold, thick air. There are a lot of temperature inversions in the area, which are places where the temperature rises with elevation.

Verkhoyansk regularly experiences summer temperatures above 30°C, which is very unusual. The town has some of the biggest temperature changes between winter and summer of any place on Earth. We also believe that the UK can change.

5. Alaska’s Denali

Mountain range at Denali© Denali National Park and Preserve, via Wikimedia Commons

The temperature is -73.8°C.

When: between 1950 and 1969

The tallest mountain top in North America, which is more than 6,000 metres above sea level, is a stunning and imposing sight. There are also lots of great places to climb, but if you want to go up, you’ll need a really good base layer.

There was a weather station close to the top of the mountain in 2003 that caught the coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States: -73.8°C.

The US government changed the mountain’s name from Mount McKinley to Denali, which is what the Koyukon people who live in the area around the mountain call it.

4. The Dome Argus on the Antarctic Plateau

Dome Argus© CHINARE

It is -82.5°C outside.

When: In July 2005

How much lower can we get? Scientists think this site could help us find out. Dome Argus is close to the current record-holder, Dome Fuji. A reading that would take the throne from Dome Fuji has not yet been made, but experts think that the coldest natural conditions on Earth are on a nearby ridge.

In 2018, researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder used infrared mapping to find places in eastern Antarctica where temperatures could drop below -90°C.

These are found in small depressions in the ground near the top of the ice sheet, between 3,800 and 4,050 metres high. Dome Argus is one of the best examples of this type of feature.

Station Amundsen-Scott at the South Pole in Antarctica

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station© Daniel Leussler, via Wikimedia Commons

It is -82.8°C outside.

When: In June 1982

At the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, people who live and work see only one sunrise and one sunset a year. This may explain why it has been the site of some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded.

The station is about 3,000 metres above sea level and is high on the Antarctic plains. It won’t get much warmer than -12°C here, not even in the summer.

Since the US built the first base here in 1956, the station has always been inhabited; today, there are about 150 people living there on average, though in the winter, there is only a small crew.

There are scientists at the station who study neutrinos, do scientific work, and use the South Pole Telescope to look at the cosmic microwave background.

2. Vostok Research Station in the Antarctic

Vostok Research Station, Antarctica© NSF/Josh Landis, via Wikimedia Commons

It is -89.2°C outside.

When: In July 1983

It’s strange that one of the coldest places on Earth is also one of the sunniest. It is sunny at the Vostok Research Station in Antarctica for more than 22 hours a day in December.

During the polar night, on the other hand, there are no hours of sunshine and Vostok has the coldest average annual temperature of any weather station on Earth.

The Soviet Union built the station in 1957, and it is now the site of some very interesting study. Scientists have also gone through ice cores and magentronomy to get to Lake Vostok, a huge lake that is hidden under the ice. They found an ecosystem of microbes and multicellular creatures that had been cut off from the rest of the world before.

1. Mount Fuji, the Antarctic

Arctic tundra at Dome Fuji© Atsuhiro Muto

It is -93.2°C outside.

When: In August 2010

In 2010, the Landsat 8 satellite pointed its cameras at a high ridge on the East Antarctic ice sheet. The images proved what scientists already knew about the weather there: it was cold. It is very cold.

With a temperature report of -92.3°C, this dry, cold desert was named the world’s coldest place. It beat the record set in 1983 at the Vostok station (see above).

People have found amazing ways to live and work in this area, even though it rarely gets above -30°C. The nearby Dome Fuji Station opened in 1995, and ice cores dug in the area let us see how the climate changed over 720,000 years ago. Are you interested in going? Bring a Thermos. Also, before you leave, watch NASA’s movie tour of the area.

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