The lowest temperature recorded on Earth may have been logged in Antarctica on Aug. 10, 2010: a reading of 135.8 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (or minus 93.2 degrees Celsius).
That unfathomably frigid temperature reading, taken via NASA satellite, was part of an effort by American scientists to locate the coldest spot on the planet. Turns out, there are a string of extremely cold spots, pockets of unbelievable chill at high elevations in Antarctica.
Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported the findings at a news conference Monday during the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco.
They looked at a region of the east Antarctic Plateau and found that temperatures in certain pockets "routinely surpass the record temperature of the previous lowest temperature on record." That was 128.6 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, set at Russia's Vostok Station in Antarctica on July 21, 1983.
There's grumbling, perhaps not surprisingly from Russian quarters. "Minus Credibility?" reads a headline on Moscow-based RT.com.
The head of the Russian Antarctic Expedition logistics center says it is "incorrect" and "unrealistic" to declare this record based on data from a satellite, according to RT.com.
While they hash that out, consider the 300 Club. As scientists noted in Monday's presentation, the kinds of low temperatures we're talking about here could be survived by humans -- "for about three minutes."
If you haven't heard of the 300 Club, that's when those wintering at the Amundsen-Scott station observe the first day at 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit by soaking in a sauna then dashing outside wearing nothing but their boots. That's a temperature change of 300 degrees.
A YouTube video shows the action. Be warned, this video is not in English and it includes shots of extremely cold bare parts.
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