Science

The Coldest Place on Earth Is Even Colder Than Scientists Thought

The Coldest Place on Earth Is Even Colder Than Scientists Thought”

According to an worldwide team of researchers who used 12 years' worth of data from several Earth-observing satellites and weather stations to reassess the same region, the temperatures prevailing in tiny valleys of Antarctic ice sheets can drop close to a whopping minus 98 degrees Celsius (or minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit), which is five degrees lower than originally thought.

American Geophysical Union's release claimed that -100 degree Celsius might be the lowest temperature that Earth can reach naturally.

It beat out the previous lowest land temperature measured by a ground station on July 23, 1983, at Vostok Station in Antarctica. Weather stations could log problems precisely as they are, however satellites could cover a lot higher locations all the time.

Antarctica's eastern plateau can see temperatures as cold as 144 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, according to new data that has been added to a preliminary study from 2013.

To do so, they analyzed data from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites, as well as the NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites, gathered during the Antarctic winters between 2004 and 2016. This temperature-a staggering minus 93 degrees Celsius (minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit)-was observed in several spots on the East Antarctic Plateau, a high snowy plain that encompasses the South Pole.

The coldest place on Earth is much colder than previously thought.

"In this area, we see periods of incredibly dry air, and this allows the heat from the surface of the snow to radiate into space more easily", said Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder, in a statement.

A science traverse in 2007 to 2009 crossed the East Antarctic Plateau in late summer.

The scientists also developed a set of instruments created to survive and operate at the very coldest places through the winter and measure both snow and air temperatures. Water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, which in turn means more of the ice-emitted heat gets trapped near the surface-keeping it warmer.

Such freezing temperatures occur in tiny pockets on the ice, the satellite readings show, up to 3 metres (or 9.8 feet) deep. Scientists say that the temperature could in theory descend here below, however, this would require that the sky stayed clear longer, and the air was drier. The satellites suspect that surface temperature of approximately 100 places within this region from 2004-2016 was reduced to minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interestingly, the researchers noticed a whole cluster of places where temperatures plunged nearly exactly to that record low over the 14-year period, even though they were located hundreds of kilometers apart.

How cold can it get? Minus 98 degrees Celsius, then, appears to be the limit to how cold it can get at Earth's surface, Scambos said. These dips in the ice can trap super cold and dry air, according to the researchers.

The finding came as a major surprise for the team because many of these surface valleys witnessed the same ultra-low temperature despite being hundreds of kilometers apart.

In the next year or two, scientists are expected to pile up more data by protruding ground-based devices in colder places.



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