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Antarctica sets record for coldest temperature on Earth

NASA satellite data revealed that the coldest recorded temperature on Earth occurred on Aug. 10, 2010, when it dropped to -135.8 F off a ridge in the East Antarctic Plateau. Image courtesy of Ted Scambos/National Snow and Ice Data Center

No amount of layering will help with this sub-zero temperature.

After analyzing more than 30 years of satellite data, NASA researchers have found that the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth — -135.8 F — happened in East Antarctica on Aug. 10, 2010. The same location came close to beating that record on July 31 with temperatures plummeting to -135.3 F.

NASA said in a statement that the Landsat 8 and other remote-sensing satellites recorded these temperatures in “lusters of pockets near a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, two summits on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau.”

Video by NASA Goddard

Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said that the record temperature is “50 degrees colder than anything that has ever been seen in Alaska or Siberia or certainly North Dakota.”

“It’s more like you’d see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles,” he said during the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Monday. “I’m confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth.”

The previous record, measured by thermometers, was set in 1983 with temperatures dropping as low as -128.6 F at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica. The Associated Press reports that the coldest temperature recorded in the U.S. was set in Alaska in 1971 at -80 F.

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