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New study discusses Antarctica's coldest temperatures



Tiny valleys near the top of Antarctica's near-100 degrees Celsius, according to a recent study published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters.

After sifting through data from several earth-observing satellites, scientists announced in 2013 that they found surface Temperatures of -93 degrees Celsius (-135 degrees Fahrenheit) in several spots on the East Antarctic Plateau, a high snowy plateau in central Antarctica that encompasses the South Pole. The preliminary study has actually reached -98 degrees Celsius (-144 degrees Fahrenheit).

When the scientists first announced they were in the coldest temperatures of Earth, they determined that they were difficult to reach dip this low.

The researchers observed the ultra-low Temperatures in small dips or shallow hollows in the Antarctic Ice Sheet where cold, dense, descending air pools over the surface and can remain for several days.

"In this area, we see periods Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and the study's lead author.

The record of -98 degrees Celsius is about as cold as it is possible to get at Earth's surface, according to the researchers. For the temperature to drop that low, clear skies and dry air need to persist for several days. Temperatures could drop a little lower, but that's extremely unlikely to happen, Scambos said.

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94559004] Finding the coldest place

The high elevation of the East Antarctic Plateau and its proximity to the South Pole give it the coldest climate of any region on Earth. Celsius (-128 degrees Fahrenheit), which was recorded there at Russia's Vostok Station in July 1983.

But weather stations can not measure temperatures everywhere. Thus, in 2013, the Earth-observing satellites to see, they were measured at the plateau even lower than those recorded at Vostok.

In the new study, they analyzed satellite data collected during The Southern Hemisphere's winter between 2004 and 2016. NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites as well as data from instruments on NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites.

The researchers observed snowdrop temperatures regularly dropping below -90 degrees Celsius (-130 degrees Fahrenheit) almost every winter in a broad region of the plateau, more than 3,500 meters (11,000 feet) above sea level. Within this broad region, they found that there were many colder temperatures. Nearly 100 locations reached surface temperatures of -98 degrees Celsius.

The atmosphere in this region may be less than 0.2 mm total precipitous water above the surface. But even when it is dry and cold, the air traps some of the heat and it returns to the surface.

Conditions do not persist long enough – it could take weeks – for the temperatures to dip below the observed records. However, the temperature measured from satellites is the temperature of the snow surface, not the air above it.

Interestingly, even though the coldest sites were spread out over hundreds of kilometers, the lowest temperatures were all the same. That's it! "

[194559004] How is it really?

Using the difference between the satellite measurements of the lowest surface snow temperatures at Vostok and three automated stations, and the researchers say the air temperatures at the very coldest sites are about -94 degrees Celsius, or about -137 degrees Fahrenheit. [19659002] The research team has thus developed a set of instruments designed to survive and operate at the very coldest places through the winter and measure both snow and air temperatures. The temperatures are comparatively mild -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).

Research paper

Related links

University of Colorado Boulder

Beyond the Ice Age




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