WASHINGTON – Newly analyzed data from East Antarctica say the remote region has set a record for soul-crushing cold.
The record, set in August 2010, is minus 94.7 Celsius (minus 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit), according to a new look at NASA satellite data.
Then on July 31 of this year, it came close again: minus 92.9 (minus 135.3 Fahrenheit).
The old record had been minus 89.2 (minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced the cold facts at the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco Monday.
“It’s more like you’d see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles,” Scambos said “I’m confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth.”
However, it won’t be in Guinness World Records because these were satellite-measured, not from thermometers, Scambos said.
“Thank God, I don’t know how exactly it feels,” Scambos said. But he said scientists do routinely make naked 100 degree below zero Fahrenheit (73 degree below zero Celsius) dashes outside in the South Pole as a stunt, so people can survive that temperature for about three minutes.
Most of the time researchers need to breathe through a special snorkel that brings air into the coat through a sleeve and warms it up “so you don’t inhale by accident” the cold air, Scambos said.
Waleed Abdalati, an ice scientist at the University of Colorado and NASA’s former chief scientist, and Scambos said this is likely an unusual random reading in a place that hasn’t been measured much before and could have been colder or hotter in the past and we wouldn’t know.
“It does speak to the range of conditions on this Earth, some of which we haven’t been able to observe,” Abdalati said.