For objective reasons, the air temperature on the globe is not uniform. In one corner of the planet, people languish from the heat, and in another they suffer from prolonged frosts. The ten coldest places on Earth include both uninhabited and inhabited territories. Russia occupies the leading position in terms of the number of lands with extremely low temperature indicators. This is due to the presence of vast zones of permafrost.
The town of the United States of America, located in the northern part of Alaska, occupies the last line of the top of the coldest places on Earth. Freezing of the soil in depth reaches 4 hundred meters! Winters are harsh and windy here, in February the thermometer level drops to almost -50˚С. Additional climatic features are expressed in the frosty dryness of the atmosphere.
From late autumn to mid-winter, the locals do not see the sun. Later, the situation improves a little, and by summer the air warms up to + 4 degrees Celsius. The average annual temperature indicator fluctuates around -12˚С. Unexpectedly, snowfalls and frosts in Barrow happen even during the summer months. Although this is not so surprising, because the Arctic Circle begins 500 km from the city, and the North Pole lies 2 thousand km away.
9. International Falls
In ninth place is again the representative of the United States. Although the settlement is located in Minnesota, that is, by American standards in the Midwest, the climatic conditions in it are not much different from a real freezer. 6 thousand people living here enjoy a thaw at 0˚C in July, and chatter their teeth on January holidays due to frost of fifty degrees.
Despite the openly unsuitable environment for staying, domestic tourism is developed here. Travelers come to the Canadian border for a walk in Voyagers National Park. In 2019, one of the American film companies even released a comedy film, which takes place not just anywhere, but in International Falls.
The capital of Kazakhstan, recently renamed Nur-Sultan, is the eighth coldest place in the world. The piercing winds of the steppe literally chill with their breath the avenues of the millionaire city, its illuminated skyscrapers and the domes of luxurious mosques. The sharply continental climate does everything to make the life of local residents as contrasting as possible. Prolonged Siberian frosts down to -52 degrees are replaced by forty-degree Asian heat.
The paucity of precipitation in the form of refreshing summer rain further aggravates the situation. Today, the authorities are making an attempt to rectify the situation: a so-called “green belt” is being artificially formed around the capital. Abundant green spaces are designed to protect the area from the penetration of winds and provide the townspeople with shady paths for walking on a scorching July afternoon.
The seventh in a row was the Russian city from the Komi Republic. Around Vorkuta is the kingdom of permafrost, flavored with a ruthless subarctic climate. 80% of the annual time, the soil is at the mercy of frost. Light frost is not excluded in summer. The average annual thermometer data is -6˚С. In winters, the mercury column can drop to a maximum of -57 degrees Celsius. Due to constant winds, the sky is covered with clouds for most of the year. Frequent blizzards cause huge snow drifts.
Abnormal conditions of the Far North put an end to agriculture. Fruit and vegetable crops simply have no real opportunity to survive in the open field. In greenhouses, gardeners manage to grow a very limited list of edible herbal plants: onions, spinach and cucumbers.
The tiny village of Ust-Shchugor, lost all in the same Komi Republic, ranks sixth in the ranking of the coldest places. There are barely three dozen inhabitants in it. The history of the ancient settlement dates back to the first third of the 18th century. The villagers were engaged in fishing and serviced the work of the winter road, along which goods were delivered by reindeer sleds to Murmansk and the countries of Scandinavia. With the appearance of a branch line at the end of the 19th century, the tract was abandoned.
Since then, a lot has changed here, but not the climate. Until today, the town of Ust-Shchugor is considered the coldest point on the European continent. In 1978, the local weather set a kind of record: an ultrapolar invasion of air masses from the coast of the Kara Sea chilled the earth down to -58 degrees below zero!
And again the Russian Federation. But now the Republic of Sakha, known not only for its diamonds, but also for the fact that its main city opens up the five most frost-resistant places on the planet. For the republican center, the winter rate is -40˚С. This figure is not considered out of the ordinary: enterprises are working, children are studying. The lowest threshold recorded by meteorologists at one time was -65 degrees.
The number of winter months in Yakutsk significantly exceeds the norm. Winter reigns in the city from October to April inclusive. The short summer is characterized by abnormal heat and insignificant precipitation. Despite the strong temperature drops and the disproportionate seasons in the spring, the capital of Yakutia boasts a long period of true “white nights”.
The former refuge of Greenlandic polar explorers – the station with the self-explanatory name of Eismitte (literally “between the ice”) – is the fourth coldest place in the list. It is based on the Greenland ice sheet, the height of which in this place reaches 3 thousand meters above sea level.
In the 30s of the XX century, there were sixty-five degrees of frost here. Ironically, a research expedition led by geophysicist A. Wegener was sent to the station during this period. Scientists built housing from snow blocks, dug dugouts, but they still lost an unequal battle with the elements. The Arctic cold took the life of the legendary professor-meteorologist, most of the rest of the participants in the risky venture received severe frostbite.
3. Station Vostok
Bronze of the “ice” competition belongs to Antarctica and the domestic scientific station “Vostok”, founded by Soviet scientists in 1957. The lowest temperature value recorded at the “Pole of Cold” is -89.2 degrees. This is exactly how much the measuring devices showed in July 1983.
The acclimatization of people working at the station is complicated by a number of the following factors. The village lies at an altitude of 3 thousand and a half meters above the surface of the world’s oceans, which is why oxygen starvation occurs in the body. Air ionization and zero humidity also negatively affect well-being. The polar night takes about 120 days a year. From May to September, the “East” is cut off from the world.
The Yakutsk city of Verkhoyansk, which occupies the second line of the ranking of the coldest places, will soon turn 400 years old. In the 17th century, the settlement served as a Cossack winter quarters. Here they bred horses and deer, fished for furs, and harvested forests. The XIX century has made its own adjustments. Here, to the edge of the empire, they began to exile revolutionaries who were unwanted by the government.
The advent of political exiles gave rise to regular meteorological observations. A representative of this cohort of people, a certain S. Kovalik, in mid-January 1885 managed to register a temperature of -68˚С. Seven years later, an even lower figure was recorded, but the officially obtained data were not taken into account. The Academy of Sciences referred to the inaccuracy of the instruments.
The village of Oymyakon, lying at the bottom of the Yakutsk Basin, is officially the coldest place on Earth. It is believed that in the 38th year of the XX century, the lowest possible temperature on Earth, -78 degrees, was observed here. Whether it is true or not, it is difficult to say now. But the Oymyakon reality is truly merciless. Knowing about the level of altitudinal zonality, the harsh continental climate and unprecedented high atmospheric pressure, it remains a mystery how 500 people of the local population survive here.