Antarctica’s Ice Sheets Found Coldest Than Ever Thought

The high flat and cold environment of the Antarctic Plateau at Dome C. Credit Wikimedia Commons

The high flat and cold environment of the Antarctic Plateau at Dome C. Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new study found that valleys near the top of Antarctica's ice sheet regularly see record-breaking temperatures that are almost -144 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest recorded temperatures anywhere on the Earth's surface.

Now, after re-examining weather data for this region, the same researchers have found that temperatures at several sites had actually dipped lower than previously thought, to a record-setting minus 98 degrees Celsius (minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit) on several occasions between 2004 and 2016.

It beat out the previous lowest land temperature measured by a ground station on July 23, 1983, at Vostok Station in Antarctica.

So in 2013, Dr. Scambos and colleagues made a decision to analyze data from several Earth-observing satellites to see if they could find temperatures on the plateau even lower than those recorded at Vostok.

The brand-new research of the information likewise showed up something fascinating regarding exactly how these record lows happen: along with clear skies as well as light winds, the air should be very completely dry to obtain temperature levels this much below zero.

Scambos added, "In this area, we see periods of incredibly dry air, and this allows the heat from the surface of the snow to radiate into space more easily".

Scientists already knew that the lowest temperature measured on Earth was on frozen ice ridges in eastern Antarctica near the South Pole.

In this data, the team found that snow surface temperatures below -90° C (-130° F) were a regular winter occurrence across the Plateau, while nearly 100 spots bottomed out at -98° C (-144° F).

The scientists also developed a set of instruments created to survive and operate at the very coldest places through the winter and measure both snow and air temperatures.

Dry air is also key to the ultracold temperatures, the study found. Satellites sensed that within this area about 100 locations had surface temperatures fall to minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit from 2004-2016.

In 2013 and in the new study, researchers calibrated the same satellite measurements of surface temperatures with data collected from weather stations on Antarctica's surface.

The researchers believe it would require weeks, rather than days, of clear skies to provide any further reduction in air temperature that would allow the snow to cool off even further in those depressions. The weather conditions on the plateau did not change, but the adjusted satellite data gave the researchers a more accurate picture of what the actual lowest temperature was. Scambos's team suspected that it could get even colder at the very highest parts of the ice sheet. The coldest conditions on Earth occur in this region few months later, in July and August, during the polar night. Minus 98 degrees Celsius, then, appears to be the limit to how cold it can get at Earth's surface, Scambos said.

The finding came as a major surprise for the team because many of these surface valleys witnessed the same ultra-low temperature despite being hundreds of kilometers apart. After the temperature drops below a certain point, the air cools so slowly that it can't get perceptibly colder before the weather conditions change, according to the researchers. They are planning to deploy the instruments within the next two years.

Recommended News

  • Facebook 'Keyword Snooze' Lets You Mute Annoying Posts

    Facebook 'Keyword Snooze' Lets You Mute Annoying Posts

    By the time it rolls out for everyone, users may be able to snooze keywords preemptively by going to their news feed preferences. Facebook has begun testing out an algorithm that will allow the social media giant to protect you from spoilers.
    John Bolton Visits Moscow To Talk Possible Trump-Putin Meeting

    John Bolton Visits Moscow To Talk Possible Trump-Putin Meeting

    Anticipation has been high for a possible Trump-Putin meeting as Trump seeks to mend strained relations with Russian Federation . Hardliner John Bolton is in Moscow to lay the groundwork for a summit between the Kremlin chief and Mr.
    Body found in ballpark cooler before Reds-Braves game in Atlanta

    Body found in ballpark cooler before Reds-Braves game in Atlanta

    Both are said to work for a third-party contractor at the stadium. "This is still an active investigation", O'Hara said. Authorities responded to SunTrust Park Tuesday afternoon after a body was found inside a beer cooler.
  • Why Colombia will get a vital 3 points against Senegal

    Why Colombia will get a vital 3 points against Senegal

    Juan Cuadrado believes that Senegal will provide stern opposition for Colombia in their final World Cup Group H game on Thursday. Senegal were far from convincing against Japan and even though Mane scored the opener it had a large dose of good luck about it.
    Germany sent packing from World Cup during group stages

    Germany sent packing from World Cup during group stages

    We had to take risks, we couldn't go on and wait and because of this we opened the doors in our defence. And that's when Kim Young-gwon found himself standing in front of the net, with the ball at his feet.
    Trump Revels in Dem Rep. Joe Crowley's Primary Loss

    Trump Revels in Dem Rep. Joe Crowley's Primary Loss

    They made a choice in one district. "[Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] represents the future of the Democratic Party ", said Nixon. She previously worked as a bartender and as a political organizer for Bernie Sanders , the New York Times reports.
  • Get ready for the final group stage matches

    Get ready for the final group stage matches

    In Algeria's final match in the group stage, it edged out a 3-2 victory over Chile, placing it second in the group behind Austria. However, a loss by one goal will still get them into the next round regardless of the result between Iran and Portugal .
    Harley-Davidson to shift some production out of United States  over European Union  tariffs

    Harley-Davidson to shift some production out of United States over European Union tariffs

    In January, the company said it would close a plant in Kansas City, Missouri, due to a sharp drop in motorcycle shipments. Department of Commerce event last week, will also help reduce the trade imbalance and need for tariffs , he said.
    Ireland vs India - Highlights & Stats

    Ireland vs India - Highlights & Stats

    Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and MS Dhoni were rested for the T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka in March. The team will play their first of two T20 matches against Ireland on 27 June at the Dublin stadium.
  • Not OK Google: Massive outage turns smart home kit utterly dumb

    Not OK Google: Massive outage turns smart home kit utterly dumb

    And, if they attempt to reset the speaker , the Homes sometimes can not reboot at all. "Your Google Home isn't set up yet". Not all of our Google Home devices were having these issues - one in Marietta, Georgia, was working fine - but many were.
    Shambolic Germany sent packing after loss to South Korea

    Shambolic Germany sent packing after loss to South Korea

    Suddenly, all eyes turned to the South Korea-Germany match being played simultaneously in Kazan. We have energetic legs on the pitch and we're sticking to the game plan.
    Heather Locklear Hospitalized in Possible Overdose Hours After Leaving Jail

    Heather Locklear Hospitalized in Possible Overdose Hours After Leaving Jail

    At the time of her release from jail , Locklear was said to have looked "disheveled", as she left with her attorney William Haney. Locklear, 56, was reportedly taken from her home to the hospital, although the Ventura County Fire Department would not confirm.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.