Congratulations, Antarctica! You're still the coldest place on Earth. And in 2010, you hosted a new record low temperature.
A new look at old NASA Landsat 8 satellite data showed that, on August 10, 2010, a ridge on the East Antarctic Plateau reached -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a good seven degrees colder than the previous record, a comparably toasty -128.6. In July of this year, we almost broke that record again with -135.3.
Antarctica's highest-ever recorded temperature was a positively boiling 59 degrees, back in 1974. Millions of years ago, Antarctica actually had a temperate climate and probably easily beat that. But humans weren't there and didn't have thermometers, so it doesn't count.
This is big news for Antarctica, which is still reeling from Metallica's big concert on Sunday.
Before you rush to say this proves that global warming isn't real, the AP made sure to mention that the lack of information we have on the area and its temperatures means we don't have much to compare it to. For all we know, -135.8 is actually warmer (or colder) than usual.
Ted Scambos, the ice scientist who announced the news today, said he'd never experienced temperatures that cold ("thank God") but apparently "scientists do routinely make naked 100 degree below zero dashes outside in the South Pole, so people can survive that temperature for about three minutes."
Yes, the AP just said that and then left it there, like the fact that scientists are running around naked in -100 degree weather doesn't need any kind of follow up.
Here's a video NASA made of of the coldest place in world. No naked scientists in sight:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.