independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Antarctic chill sets record low

Newly-analysed date shows that Antarctica has set a global record for cold temperatures (PA/Durham University)

East Antarctica has set a global record for soul-crushing cold, according to newly analysed data.

The remote region plunged as low as minus 94.7C (minus 135.8F) in August 2010, the Nasa satellite data revealed.

Then on July 31 this year, it came close again, at minus 92.9C (minus 135.3F). The old record was minus 89.2C (minus 128.6F).

Ice scientist Ted Scambos, at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, announced the cold facts at the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco.

"It's more like you'd see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles," Mr Scambos said. "I'm confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth."

However, it will not be in the Guinness Book of World Records because these were satellite-measured figures, not from thermometers, he added.

"Thank God, I don't know how exactly it feels," Mr Scambos said.

Most of the time researchers need to breathe through a snorkel that brings air into the coat through a sleeve and warms it up "so you don't inhale by accident" the cold air, Mr Scambos said.

Waleed Abdalati, an ice scientist at the University of Colorado and Nasa's former chief scientist, and Mr Scambos said this is likely to be an unusual random reading in a place that has not been measured much before and could have been colder or hotter in the past and we would not know.

"It does speak to the range of conditions on this Earth, some of which we haven't been able to observe," Mr Abdalati said.

Press Association

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