Saturday, October 3, 2015

How cold is cold?

The coldest temperature recorded on Earth using a thermometer, was -89.2C (-128.6F) at Vostok Station, in Antarctica, back in 1983. However,  my colleagues at the National Snow and Ice Data Center believe they found a temperature of -93.2C (-135.8F) near Dome Fuji (Antarctica) using the Landsat 8 satellite. There is a hope to establish an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) at this location to record the temperature at 2m above the ground.

The warmest temperature ever recorded at South Pole was -12C (9F) - it is always cold at the South Pole! South Pole station sits at an elevation of 2,835m (9,300ft) which adds to the cold and the annual average temperature there is about -49C (-56F).

Lars and Doug installing equipment on a cold and windy day. Ten minutes later Lars came back into the hut saying that his eyelids had almost frozen shut.

Outside our instrument hut, Zodiac Camp, the still air temperature fell below -40 C/F (which is the same temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit) this WINFLY season. However, if you add a small bit of wind in such conditions, the "Wind Chill" temperature makes the cold feel all the more serious.

The NOAA Windchill chart, with temperatures in Fahrenheit. Some basic conversions to Celsius: 0C=32F, -18C=0F, -40C=-40F.

A cold day at Zodiac Camp. At the start of the day exposed skin would be subject to frostbite within 10 minutes.

Perhaps the coldest day of 2odiac Season 1 (summer) at the Lorne station up on the Ross Ice Shelf with Mike, Anita and Lars (November, 2014). We moved the Ozone sensing station back to the surface as it had been buried with accumulated snow. The station was heavy and the snow was hard; it was a solid day of work.

For the Australian's reading this, the coldest temperature recorded in Australia was -23C (-9.4F), at Charlotte's Pass in the Snowy Mountains on June 29th, 1994.

The coldest temperature recorded in the United States was -52C (-62F), at Prospect Creek in Alaska, January 23rd, 1971. For Boulder, Colorado, the temperature once dropped to -36C (-33F) on January 17, 1930.