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Brrrr! -135.8°F Measured at Earth's New Coldest Spot

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:23 PM GMT on December 10, 2013

I’m in San Francisco this week for the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world’s largest climate science conference. Over five thousand of the world’s top climate scientists are here, giving a staggering 10,000 talks and poster presentations. It’s total information overload, and I will only be able to offer this week but a small sampling of the incredible amount of science being presented here.

What is the coldest place in the world? It is a high ridge above 13,000 feet in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92.2 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night, announced polar scientist Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, at a Monday press conference at the AGU conference. The official world cold record of minus 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica will remain intact, though, since official records have to be measured by ground-based instruments. How cold is -135.8°F? That’s so cold that it would hurt to breathe, said Dr. Scambos in an AP interview. That’s also well below the -109°F temperature that dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) begins to sublimate into gaseous carbon dioxide. But don’t get your hopes up that we can use the newly-found record cold spot to take CO2 out of the air and solve global warming—you need a temperature of -220°F (-140°C) to freeze CO2 out the air into dry ice “snow” at the concentrations that CO2 exists at in our atmosphere (about 398 ppm.) Still, it is an intriguing concept to build giant refrigerators in Antarctica to do just that—something that has been proposed by Purdue climate scientist Ernest Agee, in a research paper titled, CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming, published earlier this year in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology .


Figure 1. With remote-sensing satellites, scientists have found the coldest places on Earth, just off a ridge in the East Antarctic Plateau. The coldest of the cold temperatures dropped to minus 135.8 F (minus 93.2 C)--several degrees colder than the previous record. Image Credit: Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center.


Video 1. The coldest place on earth. Data from NASA-USGS Landsat 8 satellite, and NASA's MODIS sensor on the Aqua satellite. Image Credit:  NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Figure 2. In this spectacular photo from Antarctica taken by a NASA scientist on November 24, 2013, we see a lenticular cloud over a pressure ridge in the Antarctic sea ice. Lenticular clouds are a type of wave cloud. They usually form when a layer of air near the surface encounters a topographic barrier, gets pushed upward, and flows over it as a series of atmospheric gravity waves. Lenticular clouds form at the crest of the waves, where the air is coolest and water vapor is most likely to condense into cloud droplets. The bulging sea ice in the foreground is a pressure ridge, which formed when separate ice floes collided and piled up on each other. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Follow this week’s talks at AGU via the Internet
You can watch live streaming and recorded talks at this week’s AGU meeting—nearly 100 sessions (almost 600 presentations in total)--will be available live and on demand. Register here, and be sure to use code AGU13 for free access. You can also browse thousands of poster presentations at the poster site.
 
Amusing story: Metallica Has Officially Rocked on Every Continent Following Antarctica Gig on Sunday

Jeff Masters

Climate Change Winter Weather

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Quoting 500. Dakster:


IF the government is controlling the weather, who had it out for Asia this year?


Odds are always in favor of a Keys/S.Fl landall.
Dr. William Gray walks out carrying a note as Santa did in Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer....approaches the podium"...

"I'm sorry folks, but Hurricane Season 2014 is cancelled"



Loud Shrieks & Screams are heard from Fla. to the San Fran Server..
Louud Shrieks & Screams are heard from Fla. to the San Fran Server..






LMAO
Happy Birthday ric..

But this does not mean were going to be taking long strolls together nor spending any Bro time in 2014 ya know ?
I wonder how much money is invested/contributed in those terrible Hurricane forecasts by Dr. Gray?
Another month at the South Pole. Another month of record high temperatures at the bottom of the world.

The 2013 winter – the months of June, July and August – will already go down as the warmest such season at the South Pole since records began in 1957. That trend continued into September – now the warmest on record – with four new daily maximum record temperatures falling in the middle of the month.

“Saying that it has been a warm winter this year is a bit of an understatement at this point,” said Phillip Marzette, senior meteorologist at the South Pole Station .

Link

Notes on data released Dec. 4, 2013:

Compared to seasonal norms, in November the warmest area on the globe was in eastern Antartica, where the average temperature for the month was 5.32 C (almost 9.6 degrees F) warmer than seasonal norms, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Link
But this does not mean were going to be taking long strolls together nor spending any Bro time in 2014 ya know ?



the thought never crossed my mind.....LOL i am disappointed though
Quoting 507. ColoradoBob1:
Another month at the South Pole. Another month of record high temperatures at the bottom of the world.

The 2013 winter – the months of June, July and August – will already go down as the warmest such season at the South Pole since records began in 1957. That trend continued into September – now the warmest on record – with four new daily maximum record temperatures falling in the middle of the month.

“Saying that it has been a warm winter this year is a bit of an understatement at this point,” said Phillip Marzette, senior meteorologist at the South Pole Station .

Link

Notes on data released Dec. 4, 2013:

Compared to seasonal norms, in November the warmest area on the globe was in eastern Antartica, where the average temperature for the month was 5.32 C (almost 9.6 degrees F) warmer than seasonal norms, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Link


I wonder about December. I know they had to call off the contest/race to the S. Pole because of the harsh conditons.
510. jpsb
Quoting 452. FunnelVortex:




That's why I prefer calling it Climate Change.


I consider referring to Anthropogenic Global Warming as Climate Change intellectually dishonest. Climate change can have many causes (natural/human) and the result could be a warming Earth or it could be a cooling Earth. But AGW has one cause, mankind enhanced CO2 in our atmosphere and only one result a warming Earth. Trying to have it both ways; a warming or cooling Earth is IMHO an over reach. I submit as evidence all the dire warnings of sea level rise, no more snow, etc, etc, etc. A cooling Earth or even a not warming Earth will discredit the AGW hypotheses until and unless those that believe in AGW accurately describe the mechanics by which man induced green house gases, mainly CO2, cool the Earth.
11 December 2013
Three years of observations by ESA’s CryoSat satellite show that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing over 150 cubic kilometres of ice each year – considerably more than when last surveyed.

The imbalance in West Antarctica continues to be dominated by ice losses from glaciers flowing into the Amundsen Sea.

“We find that ice thinning continues to be most pronounced along fast-flowing ice streams of this sector and their tributaries, with thinning rates of between 4–8 m per year near to the grounding lines – where the ice streams lift up off the land and begin to float out over the ocean – of the Pine Island, Thwaites and Smith Glaciers,” said Dr Malcolm McMillan from the University of Leeds, UK.

Link
Quoting 510. jpsb:


I consider referring to Anthropogenic Global Warming as Climate Change intellectually dishonest. Climate change can have many causes (natural/human) and the result could be a warming Earth or it could be a cooling Earth. But AGW has one cause, mankind enhanced CO2 in our atmosphere and only one result a warming Earth. Trying to have it both ways; a warming or cooling Earth is IMHO an over reach. I submit as evidence all the dire warnings of sea level rise, no more snow, etc, etc, etc. A cooling Earth or even a not warming Earth will discredit the AGW hypotheses until and unless those that believe in AGW accurately describe the mechanics by which man induced green house gases, mainly CO2, cool the Earth.
If only we were experiencing a "cooling Earth or even a not warming Earth", we could put your theory to the test. Alas, however--and much to the long-term dismay of scientists everywhere--we're experiencing neither: the planet continues to warm, ice continues to vanish, and we continue to hasten our own demise by pretending otherwise...
513. ARiot
Quoting 510. jpsb:


I consider referring to Anthropogenic Global Warming as Climate Change intellectually dishonest. Climate change can have many causes (natural/human) and the result could be a warming Earth or it could be a cooling Earth. But AGW has one cause, mankind enhanced CO2 in our atmosphere and only one result a warming Earth. Trying to have it both ways; a warming or cooling Earth is IMHO an over reach. I submit as evidence all the dire warnings of sea level rise, no more snow, etc, etc, etc. A cooling Earth or even a not warming Earth will discredit the AGW hypotheses until and unless those that believe in AGW accurately describe the mechanics by which man induced green house gases, mainly CO2, cool the Earth.


I don't like the term Climate Change because, let's face it, outside of super volcanos, asteroid impacts and major movements of the earth's tectonic plates, the climate should not freaking change. It should be mind-numbingly, barely-perceptable-on-a-human-scale, slow change -- all but when the most extreme forces act upon it. Entire species evolved due to sublte slow climate variances over millions or several hundreds of thousands of years. AGW is much bigger than we can imagine, and in geological time, it's scary fast. That's one reason why it took me several years to get my mind around the theory.
509. Sfloridacat5

The record temps at the South Pole Station actually began last March with wide swings between record highs and lows. By June they had got stuck on just record highs for 4 straight months.
it is getting warmer on Mars too
“Dec. 6, 2013 — A new NASA-led study has discovered an intriguing link between sea ice conditions and the melting rate of Totten Glacier, the glacier in East Antarctica that discharges the most ice into the ocean. ...........Satellite observations from NASA's ICESat-1, which measures how much ice surfaces are rising or falling over time, revealed that Totten Glacier was thinning rapidly. It currently discharges enough ice into the surrounding ocean to fill Lake Erie in just over a week.

Link
Quoting 515. MisterPerfect:
it is getting warmer on Mars too


Prove it .
Quoting MisterPerfect:
it is getting warmer on Mars too


We'll need to raise taxes and cut jobs for the Martians, so we can reverse this tragdegy.!
Quoting 515. MisterPerfect:
it is getting warmer on Mars too



At a very slow pace...
Quoting 519. FunnelVortex:



At a very slow pace...


Isn't the sun slowly getting bigger as well? that is part of its life cycle.... Why doesn't anyone consider the heat being closer to us a factor in global warming?
Quoting 508. ricderr:
But this does not mean were going to be taking long strolls together nor spending any Bro time in 2014 ya know ?



the thought never crossed my mind.....LOL i am disappointed though


Bromance? LOl just kidding. By the way Happy Birthday!
Quoting 520. Torito:


Isn't the sun slowly getting bigger as well? that is part of its life cycle.... Why doesn't anyone consider the heat being closer to us a factor in global warming?


“'We now have even more confidence from the geological record' says Summerhayes, 'that the only plausible explanation for current warming is the unprecedented exponential rise in CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Recent compilations of past climate data, along with astronomical calculations, show that changes in the Earth's orbit and axis cooled the world over the past 10,000 years. This cooling would normally be expected to continue for at least another 1,000 years.

'And yet Arctic palaeoclimate records show that the period 1950-2000 was the warmest 50 year interval for 2,000 years. We should be cool, but we're not.'


Link
Interesting read - Article states a 27 degree temperature change in 5 years, 12000 years ago.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/warnings/stories/noj s.html

Ice cores have revealed that global climate%u2014long thought to change only very gradually%u2014can shift with frightening speed, in some cases in a matter of years. As this graph shows, one such jump occurred about 12,000 years ago, as the last glacial period (the Pleistocene) was giving way to our current warm "interglacial" period (the Holocene). Suddenly, possibly in less than five years, average temperatures, which were slightly cooler than today's, plunged by about 27F, returning the world to near-glacial conditions.

Greenland, shows how temperatures have risen by more than 20C (36F) since the height of the Ice Age 25,000 years ago.
Quoting 520. Torito:


Isn't the sun slowly getting bigger as well? that is part of its life cycle.... Why doesn't anyone consider the heat being closer to us a factor in global warming?


We have a billion years yet before that begins to happen.
81 with a dewpoint of 68. Where in the heck is December!! It was actually nice this morning.
Isn't the sun slowly getting bigger as well? that is part of its life cycle.... Why doesn't anyone consider the heat being closer to us a factor in global warming?



depending on which model you subscribe too the sun is either hotter or cooler than recent times, however even if you subscribe that it is hotter the difference is so minute it is not a contributor to our current global increase in temps
Dewpoints

It's your birthday Ric? Well, then Happy B-Day.

85F out... Santa better ditch that suit or he will sweat to death.
It's your birthday Ric? Well, then Happy B-Day.



it is and thanx dak
Alpine glacier, unchanged for thousands of years, now melting

New ice cores suggest Alps have been strongly warming since 1980s


SAN FRANCISCO—Less than 20 miles from the site where melting ice exposed the 5,000-year-old body of Ötzi the Iceman, scientists have discovered new and compelling evidence that the Italian Alps are warming at an unprecedented rate.

Part of that evidence comes in the form of a single dried-out leaf from a larch tree that grew thousands of years ago.

A six-nation team of glaciologists led by The Ohio State University drilled a set of ice cores from atop Mt. Ortles in northern Italy, and described their early findings on Monday, Dec. 9 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

The Alto dell'Ortles glacier, which did not show signs of melting for thousands of years, now appears to be shifting away from a constantly below-freezing state to one where its upper layers are at the melting point throughout the year, said project leader Paolo Gabrielli, research scientist at Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State.

"Our first results indicate that the current atmospheric warming at high elevation in the Alps is outside the normal cold range held for millennia," he said. "This is consistent with the rapid, ongoing shrinking of glaciers at high elevation in this area."

Link
528 85F out... Santa better ditch that suit or he will sweat to death.



58.3 here, may make 68 today and is on a nice upward trend.

Happy B-Day Ric
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
533. 1069
Am surprise that there is enough moisture to produce any cloud formation much less snow with these kinds of temps. During these kinds of temps I read somewhere that it only snow about 2 to 4 inches a year down at the S Pole.