In 2013, researchers spotted the coldest spot on Earth somewhere in the eastern part of Antarctica. Five years later, they performed some new observations in the area and made some distressing discoveries. A few sites in this region have dropped their temperatures even lower than before, challenging the rules of thermodynamics.
New data readings indicate a lower temperature for the coldest spot on Earth
In 2013, researchers identified the coldest spot on Earth on the East Antarctic Plateau, a high area covered in snow that stretches over a big part of the continent. In this region, they recorded temperatures of minus 93 degrees Celsius/minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit, marking an all-time low.
However, researchers decided to return with their studies and analyze the region better. This way, they discovered something quite distressing. Certain points in the region had actually reached even lower temperatures between 2004 and 2016. More precisely, the record was of minus 98 degrees Celsius/minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit.
For these new measurements, researchers used the same data as in 2013. However, this time, they took into account more factors regarding the weather. This way, they could perform an accurate assessment of the temperatures in the coldest spot on Earth.
Researchers identified the conditions necessary for Earth to get so cold
The previous readings were quite flawed, as researchers now discovered differences of 5 degrees Celsius and 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, researchers decided to measure the temperature in the tiny hollows, which are small holes on the ice surface where the air can get incredibly cold.
Researchers were also able to identify the conditions necessary for the coldest spot on Earth to get so cold. First of all, the area needs a clear sky without any strong winds. Then, the new results suggested the air needs to be extremely dry as well. If it’s humid, it traps heat in the water vapor in the atmosphere, so this is understandable. In the end, all of these conditions need to persist for at least a few days.
Therefore, researchers have discovered the coldest spot on Earth is a lot colder than they thought. Since it’s such a low record, they assumed this is the coldest our planet can get. As mentioned above, some atmospheric conditions are necessary for such temperatures, and it takes time for these conditions to change.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons