The coldest place on Earth is in East Antarctica

NASA satellites discovered a desolate and remote ice plateau in East Antarctica, the coldest place on earth. The remote region plunged as low as minus 94.7oC (minus 135.8oF). This beat the previous record of -89.2 degrees Celsius measured at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica on July 21, 1983.

The Scientists made the discovery while examining 32 years of global surface temperatures recorded by viz. remote sensing satellites, the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS), etc.

The super-cold temperatures are due to, air being caught and held for a while. If the skies are clear for a few days, the ground radiates remaining heat into space, creating a layer of super-chilled air above the snow.

Here, Antarctica air is dry, ground chilly, and the skies cloudless. The cold air swoops down off a dome and gets trapped in a chilly lower spot. That’s why, by causing the air to be stationary for extended periods, while continuing to radiate more heat away into space, one can get the absolute lowest temperatures.

Can humans exist at minus 94.7oC?

The number of human activities becomes extremely difficult at such low temperatures.

  • The human skin does not keep the body warm at such temperatures. In the winters, the thick snow and long hours of darkness considerably affect vision. In summers, the strong ultraviolet radiation from the hole in the ozone layer can cause great damage to the eyes unless special protection is used.
  • It would become extremely difficult to pass urine in East Antarctica if the temperature was recorded 26 degrees Celsius lower, because the freezing point of urine is minus 120 degrees Celsius. This should make it obvious why there is little to no habitation of the region.

Note: Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. It is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. 

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Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2017Places in News 2017Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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