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What are the Coldest Places in the World?

The coldest places on Earth, such as Antarctica's Vostok Station or Siberia's Oymyakon, are breathtaking realms where temperatures plummet to life-defying lows. These frigid spots challenge human survival, yet they hold secrets about our planet's climate history. Imagine living in a world of perpetual ice—what adaptations are necessary? Discover how life persists in these extreme conditions. Ready to explore further?
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco

Antarctica takes position number one among the coldest places on earth. Mostly uninhabited except for penguin and seal colonies found along the coast, Antarctica has practically no match on the temperature department. At the Plateau Station, temperatures can easily plummet to -119.23° Fahrenheit (-84° Celsius) and the annual average temperature barely reaches -32.8°F (-36°C). The record as the coldest place, however, goes to Vostok Station, Antarctica, where the temperature reached -129°F (-89.4°C) on 21 July 1983. Scientists are the only humans to live on Antarctica for months at a time, and even they do it only in summer.

Of all inhabited areas, one of the coldest areas in the world is Siberia. Although global warming has taken a toll on Siberian winters over the past decade, it's normal for temperatures to reach -60°F (-51.1°C) in January. Oymyakon, in Eastern Siberia, has an average winter temperature of -49°F (−45°C), and may have reached a low of -96.16°F (-71.2°C), although the official record is -90°F (-67.7°C). The little village is home to 900 permanent residents, who endure winter for nine months out of the year, and considered -30°F (−34.4°C) "balmy." The area is so cold that empty plastic bags taken outside will freeze within minutes and then crack like glass.

Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.
Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.

Outside of Russia, the prize for one of the coldest areas goes to Greenland, where the cities of Northice and Eismitte frequently see temperatures of -50°F (-45.5°C). The Yukon, Canada, falls close behind by only a few degrees. In the US, one of the coldest places is definitively International Falls, Minnesota, where temperatures normally reach -32°F (-35.5°C) in winter. Prospect Creek, Alaska, has broken several records in the American continent, including reaching -79.8°F (-62.1°C) in 2003.

During winter, Alaska is one of the coldest places in the world.
During winter, Alaska is one of the coldest places in the world.

To survive in the coldest places in the world, humans have had to adapt their environment and lifestyle significantly. Everything freezes at such low temperatures, from electronics to gasoline to pen ink; batteries lose power and pipes crack under the pressure exerted by ice and snow. In Ojmjakon, children are not allowed to play outside for more than 20 minutes at a time during a typical winter day. At -60°F (-51.1°C), their lungs can freeze and collapse. Despite all the difficulties, humans have found a way to change the environment and survive. Many of the coldest areas in the world now attract tourists who are eager to see, at least for a few days, what real winter is all about.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the coldest place on Earth and how cold can it get?

The Yukon, in Canada's northwest region, is one of the coldest places.
The Yukon, in Canada's northwest region, is one of the coldest places.

The coldest place on Earth is Antarctica, specifically a high ridge on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures can plummet to below -130 degrees Fahrenheit (-89.2 degrees Celsius). The lowest temperature ever recorded was -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-89.2 degrees Celsius) at the Vostok Station in Antarctica on July 21, 1983, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Are there any permanently inhabited places that are among the coldest in the world?

Greenland is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth.
Greenland is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth.

Yes, there are permanently inhabited places that rank among the coldest in the world. Oymyakon, a rural locality in Russia, is often cited as the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth, with temperatures reaching as low as -96.16 degrees Fahrenheit (-71.2 degrees Celsius) in 1924. Despite these extreme conditions, it has a population of around 500 people.

How do the coldest temperatures on Earth compare to those on other planets?

Siberia, where the Soviet Union established gulags, is one of the coldest inhabited places in the world.
Siberia, where the Soviet Union established gulags, is one of the coldest inhabited places in the world.

Earth's coldest temperatures are mild compared to those on other planets in our solar system. For instance, Mars experiences temperatures as low as -195 degrees Fahrenheit (-125 degrees Celsius), while on Jupiter's moon Europa, temperatures can drop to a chilling -370 degrees Fahrenheit (-223 degrees Celsius). These extraterrestrial temperatures are far more extreme than the coldest recorded on Earth.

What are the effects of extreme cold on the environment and wildlife?

Extreme cold can have significant effects on the environment and wildlife. In such conditions, plant growth is severely limited, and only specialized flora and fauna can survive. Animals have adapted through behavioral changes, such as migration and hibernation, and physical adaptations like thick fur or blubber. Permafrost in these regions can store large amounts of carbon, which, if thawed due to climate change, could release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

How do humans adapt to living in the coldest places in the world?

Humans adapt to living in the coldest places in the world through a combination of technological, architectural, and social strategies. They build insulated homes, use specialized heating systems, and wear layered clothing designed for extreme cold. Communities are often close-knit, with a strong sense of cooperation and shared resources, which is crucial for survival in such harsh climates. Dietary adjustments also play a role, with a focus on high-calorie foods to maintain body heat.

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Discussion Comments


I have seen -72 Fahrenheit in 1970 on Christmas Day in a place along highway 97 called 70 Mile House. There are several witnesses in my family to this one.

Also I have worked in -65 Fahrenheit in a sawmill in the same region. This used to be relatively common, but it is now rare to see past -40 celsius.


It was -62 F in Evergreen, MN and -71 in Tower, MN on the morning of February 4th 1997. It was so cold that in some spots, the moisture in the trees were making them blow out. There are a lot of spots in western North Dakota that get very cold, too.


First of all let me just say that places outside of Russia, Canada, Alaska and Antarctica are not going to be nearing the top 5 coldest places. The only time a place farther south then Siberia was the coldest place on earth was Edmonton, Alberta when it hit -49 C.

Places like Scotland, Mainland America (other than possibly International Falls, but since its on the border of Canada it almost doesn't matter) and England will never reach those temperatures.

First off, the coldest inhabited place in the world is Eureka, Nunavut. It averages a -20 C year round temperature. Although cities in Siberia have a colder winter on average, (Eureka only averages -42 C in the winter whereas Omyakon, Russia averages -47 C.), their summers are much milder then those of Eureka. Yakutk in the Yakutsk region of Siberia, is the coldest city in the world. Winnipeg ranks third after Harbin, China. For snow, the top two towns in the world are Sapporo, Japan followed by Stewart, British Columbia.

For the people who have also said that their cities have hit -50 and are part of mainland America, I completely doubt it. The only major cities where that happens are in Russia and Canada.


Here are some stats:

Wednesday, January 11, 1911 Fort Vermilion, Alberta −61.1 °C or (minus 78 F).

Sunday, January 5, 1975 Old Crow, Yukon −59.4 °C

Friday, January 31, 1947 Smith River, British Columbia −58.9 °C

Wednesday, January 23, 1935 Iroquois Falls, Ontario −58.3 °C

Tuesday, February 13, 1973 Shephard Bay, Nunavut −57.8 °C

Wednesday, December 26, 1917 Fort Smith, Northwest Territories −57.2 °C

Wednesday, February 1, 1893 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan −56.7 °C

Sunday, February 11, 1979 Dawson City, Yukon −55.8 °C

Friday, February 9, 1934 Iroquois Falls, Ontario −55.6 °C

Thursday, February 15, 1979 Eureka, Nunavut −55.3 °C


I am living in western Turkey. There is wonderful weather every time. In winter snow is falling less, but enough.


Every place has it's odd freaky cold days. How about snow on the ground for six-plus months? Welcome to Alberta.


I have a question for you all who seem to know about extreme cold temperatures. Can teeth freeze and fall off when it gets extremely cold?


There's a place in Canada (I forget the name. I think it starts with a B) but it's the coldest inhabited place in the world. It's even colder than Vostok.


Yakutsk is not Siberia. It is a capital of Republic Sakha Yakutia.And Yakut people live there, they look like asians. I was born in Yakutsk, and there is really cold, that even your bones feel pain.


What is the rank of Winnipeg as being the coldest place in the world?


I live in kashmir and it's definitely not the coldest, but I think at minamarg drass, some 100 km from srinagar, the windchill is the deadliest.


World's coldest place is definitely Vostok (Antarctica), followed by Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon in Siberia, and then Snag Junction and Prospect Creek in Yukon and Alaska respectively.Some of these readings were taken as many as 60 years ago. Greenland's Eismitte is probably the next though temperatures have not been recorded every winter during certain years


Fort McMurray: Hot oil industry - incredibly cold climate.


I am Canadian, but I must say some of these other Canadians posting on here obviously do not remotely understand the difference between the actual temperature and the given windchill temperature.

I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which on average is way colder than Edmonton or Calgary Alberta. To say that the temperature easily reaches -40 or -50 is a bunch of crap. With the windchill yes it does get to -40 (it was -42 C with the windchill here today), however the coldest the temperature actually was was -32 C. We have had one -39ish day here this year, and that is quite rare.

Windchill does not affect inanimate objects such as cars, pipes, bricks, buildings and etc in the way it affects humans. It does cool them down faster, but if they are already cold it doesn't make a difference. It's the hot 'moist' things like us humans that the windchill affects by whipping away our heat faster.

We can have -15 C with a (feels like) -38 C windchill, however your car sitting outside will never get colder than -15C. It will just have a harder time heating up warmer than that.


Worked in the russian arctic where temperature dipped to -50 the first time there felt like -150, been in the southern region of Alberta.


Drass, India is officially the second coldest inhabited place on earth.


@anon12179: All of Alaska experiences winters longer then three months, not just far inland Alaska. Here in Juneau, Alaska we get winter from around october/november till march/april.


UK experienced the coldest winter in a decade: -21.4 in the village I live (record low), which is nothing compared to some parts of the world. I wished I lived in a cold place like Fairbanks. I so love the snow and winter.


the coldest place is Vostok, Antarctica: -128.6 C


i think this time laddak(india)is the coldest place.


winnipeg is terribly cold. my car won't start at the moment.


I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. It snows in September and the snow stays around until April. During November-March the temperatures usually range from about -55F to +10F. -20F is a typical day.

We usually get two or three long stretches (one to three weeks) of temperatures below -40F every day. Kids are required to play outside for recess at school down to -20F.

You get used to the low temps. You wear cold weather gear and you plug in your car (heaters for your cars oil pan and engine block). We did have a serious weather event two weeks ago. It shut down much of interior Alaska: the university, state offices, the schools, etc. for three days. It rained, freezing rain on snow and frozen ground so everything turned into a skating rink.


Scientists are not the only humans to live in Antarctica. There are plenty of support staff there as well! (e.g. cooks, doctors, snow shovelers, pilots, etc.)


Pakistan has glaciers, but is far from being the coldest place in the world.


I live in Calgary, Alberta. Really, it isn't that bad with Chinooks and all that. Sure it gets down below -30 for the majority of our eight months of winter, but it also gets up above 0 for a couple of days at least once a month that time. I just put on a sweater or three, a pair of gloves, some wool socks and some hockey skates and all of my problems disappear.


Nobody is disputing that Canada is colder than the US. We have a few constantly cold areas, but our winters are by comparison very short, which is why we choose to live here and not in Edmunton! Although some of our closest friends live in Canada and we are very fond of you who choose to live in what we consider to be uncomfortable cold.


What about Calgary? It's not as cold as some places, but it's cold for a long time. It's a month before winter starts, and already it's -34 degrees celsius!

(and from last year, it didn't stop snowing until April, almost.)


Lithuania's cold record is -42.7 Celsius!


Minnesota is a joke for winters. There isn't one state that can honestly say they have winter more than three months of the year (unless you're living far inland Alaska away from the beautiful, easy-to-take Pacific air). Good Lord!


For God's sake people, it doesn't matter that Antarctica is the coldest place on earth and next to it Siberia. No one cares!

The point is: where do the hardiest of people live? Look for a city of 1,000,000 people who chose to live where it gets to these nasty temps. The answer, truly, is Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Yellowknife temps. The Pacific Coast of Alaska makes wimps with their beautiful rainy weather in the winter.

Don't let those people fool you, unless they live inland at least in Fairbanks or Prospect. When people in the U.S. say, "My Gosh! One day it was such-and-such below F degrees here" Who cares, that was one day. Try being the people who live it often, not one freakish day. LOL! Think about it. A lot of people living it a lot. A lot of people living it one weird day. Hmmmm.


Siachen glaciers, Pakistan is the coldest place and Jacobabad and Sibbi also in Pakistan are the hottest places.


Holland is cold too.


sahara in south africa is coldest place in the world.


Pakistan SIBI is coldest place in the world.


i think new zealand is cold too.


Alberta, Canada has colder winters than Greenland. The temperatures often get up to 50 degrees Celsius in the winter. Windows crack in the cold, iPods fail to turn on due to a frozen battery, and the slightest bit of moisture freezes to your face.


Sorry guys, but Yakutsk, (Siberia) Russia is documented to be the coldest on record consistently. That way hundreds of years ago a form of punishment was to send the criminals to Siberia.


I'm sorry. But you Americans need to understand that there are colder places than your country around the world.


texas (where I live) is not the coldest place on earth. i think antarctica is the coldest.


Montana! Montana! Mn is a lot colder a lot longer!


There's a sinkhole called Peter's Sink in northern corner of Utah near where Wyoming and Idaho meet. It got down to -69°F (-56°C) back in the winter of 1985 and came close in February of 2002 at -67°F (-55°C).

Routinely, this is probably the coldest place in the contiguous US. Every winter this sinkhole will plummet below -50°F (-46°C) and -60°F (-51°C) mornings are fairly common too.


We have just gotten out of one of the worst winter storm in Sherman, TX. Snow up to one foot, which is very unusual for Texas or Oklahoma. Ice everywhere. Schools were canceled all over north Texas. Is this the end of the world?


Right now a place in Skye, Scotland is the third coldest inhabited place on earth. Antarctica doesn't count as nobody lives there.


outer space is my pick


Indeed it has, its amusing that a country only 20 years or so ago had a regular "winter" and we didn't even bat an eyelid at a bit of snow (and we'd get sometimes a foot or two worth of it) and now suddenly can't handle it anymore when it comes around, and it's not even that high. It's what -- two inches? and it's a national catastrophe lol.


its -1 in the uk at the moment and everything has come to a standstill.


well in tullahoma, tennessee it is the same temperature as it is in siberia.


yellowknife is cold too...reaches -50 deg celsius quite easily


I think people here don't understand the difference between fahrenheit and celsius: it's a huge difference. Try to convert and you will see that you are all way off in the states! sorry but when we say -30 celsius we actually mean -22 fahrenheit! that makes it much colder then you think!


simferopol is coldest place _200 F


i think that the coldest place is antarctica.


the coldest place in the world is Antarctica. It's −128.6 °F there. That's cold.


in Hayden colorado it has gotten -43F and we still had to go to school. we have not had a snow day in 30 to 40 years, but we have had broken pipe days which are nice.


southern california is so cold! it gets down to 80 degrees here! brrr


I think the coldest place in the world is Tiksi in Siberia. In winter it's nearly everyday -50 Celsius and one day it was -69.8 Celsius.


i think himachal in india is the very coolest place in india. but here only particular people like siththarkal and yogis live there. The other one perfect cool place in south india is ooty and kodaikanal.


How about Drass village in Ladakh, which is considered to be the second coldest inhabitated place in the world? is that true?


Nah they say Antarctica is but if you go to a place that has -30 Celsius, it's almost warm compared to -10 Celsius with a strong wind, where you freeze. There are many dependent factors.


cameron highlands in malaysia is cold too. Come and visit Malaysia!


I live in south louisiana and we get 30 degrees over here in the winter.


chicago is pretty cold too...


There is also Yakutsk, Russia.


Minot North Dakota is one cold place.


Fairbanks, Alaska, routinely experiences -50 and -60 in the winter. The average winter temp. is about -40. I live in one of the warmer spots of AK, and I've been through colder days than what they list here.


A town here in Michigan called Vanderbilt (without wind chill) -51


What about Roger's Pass, Montana? It once got -70 degrees F there. That's way colder than International Falls, Minnesota!

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    • Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.
      By: Goinyk Volodymyr
      Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.
    • During winter, Alaska is one of the coldest places in the world.
      By: juan35mm
      During winter, Alaska is one of the coldest places in the world.
    • The Yukon, in Canada's northwest region, is one of the coldest places.
      By: Anna
      The Yukon, in Canada's northwest region, is one of the coldest places.
    • Greenland is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth.
      By: mady70
      Greenland is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth.
    • Siberia, where the Soviet Union established gulags, is one of the coldest inhabited places in the world.
      By: skyphoto
      Siberia, where the Soviet Union established gulags, is one of the coldest inhabited places in the world.