The 10 Coldest Places on Earth

February 13, 2024

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Research station in Antarctica

The extreme cold can have devastating effects on the human body. If you were in an environment below minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit and hadn’t taken any measures to protect yourself against the cold, your skin would freeze, leading to potential frostbite, and hypothermia would cause your organs to start shutting down.

Many of the coldest places on Earth are research stations, and the scientists who live in them are well-equipped and trained to cope with sub-zero conditions.

You may not be brave enough to visit any of them yourself, but we thought you might still be interested to know where the ten coldest places in the world are. Continue reading to find out.

RankLocationColdest recorded temperature
1Dome Fuji, Antarctica-135.8°F (-93.2°C)
2Vostok Station, Antarctica-128.6°F (-89.2°C)
3Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica-117.0°F (-82.8°C)
4Dome Argus, Antarctica-116.5°F (-82.5°C)
5Denali, Alaska-100.0°F (-73.3°C)
6Verkhoyansk, Russia-93.6°F (-69.8°C)
7Klinck Research Station, Greenland-92.9°F (-69.4°C)
8Oymyakon, Russia-90.0°F (-67.8°C)
9North Ice, Greenland-87°F (-66.1°C)
10Snag, Canada-80.9°F (-62.7°C)

1. Dome Fuji, Antarctica

Temperature: -135.8°F (-93.2°C)
Date Recorded: August 2010

Dome Fuji on the Antarctic plateau is the coldest place on Earth. In August 2010, the Landsat 8 satellite took a temperature of minus 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit — the coldest temperature ever recorded on this planet. What’s more, researchers believe that the dry air around the area could cause temperatures to plummet even further.

Temperatures in this region rarely exceed minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and the only humans to inhabit it are scientists who stay for brief periods for research purposes. They survive by staying close to their stations, and if they’re caught out in a blizzard, they stay in a hut or tent rather than trying to make their way back to the station. Stations are closed during winter because conditions are too dangerous. Antarctica is the only continent in the world with no indigenous people, and while tourists do visit, most stay on expedition ships. Those who do decide to camp can only do so in designated areas. However, Dome Fuji is not one.

There are very few land animals on the Antarctic plateau, and penguins aren’t present there either. Only a few birds — such as Antarctic petrels, snow petrels, and south polar skuas — routinely fly over the region.

Did you know?

Some don’t consider the lowest temperature recorded at Dome Fuji to be an official world record. This is because it was measured using remote sensing from a satellite rather than a thermometer on the ground.

2. Vostok Station, Antarctica

Temperature: -128.6°F (-89.2°C)
Date Recorded: July 1983

From July 1983 to August 2010, Vostok Station in Antarctica was thought to be the coldest place on Earth. With a lowest recorded temperature of minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit, it is now the second-coldest after Dome Fuji.

Located just over 800 miles from the South Pole, the Russian research station receives no sunlight at all during the polar night, and with just 20 millimeters of precipitation a year, it is also one of the driest places in the world. 

Did you know?

As well as being one of the coldest places on Earth, Vostok Station is one of the sunniest. During the month of December, it receives more than 22 hours of sunlight.

3. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica

Temperature: -117.0°F (-82.8°C)
Date Recorded: June 1982

Thanks to a temperature of minus 117 degrees Fahrenheit captured at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in June 1982, the top three coldest places in the world are all in Antarctica. 

Even on a summer’s day temperatures in the area rarely exceed nine degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the highest temperature ever recorded at the station was just 9.86 degrees Fahrenheit in December 2011.

Built in 1956, the US’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is situated about 9,300 feet above sea level, on the high plateau of Antarctica. It experiences six months of daylight in the summer months and six months of total darkness during winter. This means that the scientists who work at the station only see one sunrise and one sunset each year. The station has been permanently occupied since it was built, and although there is only a skeleton crew during winter, its average population is about 150.

Did you know?

The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is drifting with the Antarctic ice sheet at about 33 feet each year.

4. Dome Argus, Antarctica

Temperature: -116.5°F (-82.5°C)
Date Recorded: July 2005

Again located in Antarctica, close to Dome Fuji, Dome Argus is thought to be the fourth-coldest place in the world, with a low temperature of 116.5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, using infrared technology, a team from the University of Colorado at Boulder found, in 2018, that temperatures in the area were lower than minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit, indicating that Dome Argus could be even colder than this.

Did you know?

Researchers believe that a ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji could actually be the coldest place on Earth.

5. Denali, Alaska

Temperature: -100.0°F (-73.3°C)
Date Recorded: Sometime between 1950 and 1969

The fifth-coldest place in the world is Denali, with a lowest recorded temperature of minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature was picked up sometime between 1950 and 1969 by a self-recording thermometer in a weather station located near the summit of the mountain. 

At 20,310 feet tall, Denali is North America’s highest mountain, attracting hikers from all over the world who attempt to reach its peak. However, due to its bitterly cold climate, only about half make it to the top. Temperatures on Denali average just 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and even in summer, they can plummet as low as minus 22.9.

Did you know?

Denali was known as Mount McKinley until 2015 when the US government declared that its name would be restored to the one used by the Koyukon people who inhabit the region.

6. Verkhoyansk, Russia

Temperature: -93.6°F (-69.8°C)
Date Recorded: February 1892

With a low of minus 93.6 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded in February 1892, Verkhoyansk in Russia is the sixth-coldest place on Earth. Situated within the Arctic Circle, along with Oymyakon (which also features on this list), it is known as the northern ‘Pole of Cold’, where the lowest temperatures in the northern hemisphere have been recorded.

Unlike the first five entries on this list, Verkhoyansk isn’t a research area or a mountain. It is in fact a town with a year-round population of more than 1,000. In the winter months, Verkhoyansk sees temperatures of around minus 49.7 degrees Fahrenheit. During summer, though, it is a completely different story.

Did you know?

The town of Verkhoyansk experiences some of the greatest seasonal temperature fluctuations on Earth, with the summer months reaching highs of 61.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Klinck Research Station, Greenland

Temperature: -92.9°F (-69.4°C)
Date Recorded: December 1991

The coldest research station in the northern hemisphere and the seventh-coldest place on Earth is Klink Research Station in Greenland, which recorded a temperature of minus 69.4 degrees Fahrenheit more than 30 years ago. This temperature was captured by an automatic thermometer in December 1991, however, it was only verified by the World Meteorological Organization in 2020.

Klink Research Station is located near the highest point on the ice sheet that covers much of Greenland, and it is only accessible via snowmobile. 

Did you know?

While Greenland is home to one of the coldest places on the planet, the country’s ice is melting rapidly.

8. Oymyakon, Russia

Temperature: -90.0°F (-67.8°C)
Date Recorded: February 1933

The Russian village of Oymyakon experiences perpetually cold conditions. However, in February 1933, the temperature plummeted to minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit, putting it eighth on the list of the world’s coldest places. (A monument in the town square declares a reading of minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit taken in January 1924, however, this has not been officiated.)

Like Verkhoyansk, it is one of the coldest continually inhabited places on Earth — though its population is only a few hundred. This is due to its location between two valleys which traps cold winds and leads to an inhospitable environment that few would choose to endure. Those who do live there must be resilient to live in such conditions, and schools will only close when temperatures drop below minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Did you know?

The world’s coldest marathon took place in Oymyakon, which saw participants running with frost in their eyelashes and eyebrows.

9. North Ice, Greenland

Temperature: -87°F (-66.1°C)
Date Recorded: January 1954

Earth’s ninth-coldest place is the North Ice research station, again located in Greenland. In January 1954, a temperature of minus 87 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded at the station, which was established in 1952, during the British North Greenland Expedition.

Conditions in Greenland are extremely harsh, especially in the north, where the research station is situated. 85 percent of the country is covered in snow and ice, with temperatures only rising above freezing in the month of July.

Did you know?

The North Ice research station was abandoned just two years after it was set up.

10. Snag, Canada

Temperature: -80.9°F (-62.7°C)
Date Recorded: February 1947

The final entry on the list of the world’s coldest places is Snag in Canada, which experienced a record low temperature of minus 80.9 degrees Fahrenheit in February 1947.

The now-abandoned village is located in a valley in the territory of Yukon; originally settled during the Klondike Gold Rush before being used as an emergency landing strip during World War II and then as a weather station. At the time of the record-breaking temperature reading, Snag was home to around ten First Nation people and 20 researchers, who were in such disbelief they had to test their equipment to check it was working properly.

Did you know?

When Snag reached temperatures of minus 80.9 degrees Fahrenheit, locals claimed that their breath froze mid-air and fell to the ground and that they could hear each others’ voices from several miles away.

Summary

The four coldest places on the planet are in Antarctica, with low temperatures of between minus 135.8 and minus 116.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the other coldest places on Earth are in Russia, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. Each of them has recorded temperatures of below minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

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