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Global warming? 'Soul-crushing' cold recorded in Antarctica

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

After an unusually warm summer, the world has been plunged into an unusually cold winter. How cold is cold? It hit 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit BELOW ZERO in East Antarctica, it what's been described as "soul-crushing" cold.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A fresh look at NASA satellite data proved that the planet earth set a new record for coldest temperature recorded. It happened in August 2010 when it hit -135.8 degrees. Then on July 31 of this year, it came close again: -135.3 degrees. The previous world record had been -128.6 degrees, which is -89.2 degrees Celsius.

The new record is "50 degrees colder than anything that has ever been seen in Alaska or Siberia or certainly North Dakota," according to ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

"It's more like you'd see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles," Scambos added. He shared the data at the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco earlier this week. "I'm confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth."

These figures won't be shared in the Guinness Book of World Records as they were satellite measured, not from thermometers, Scambos said.

"Thank God, I don't know how exactly it feels," Scambos said. Scientists routinely make naked 100 degree below zero dashes outside in the South Pole. People can survive that temperature for about three minutes.

Researchers need to breathe through a snorkel that brings air into the coat through a sleeve and warms it up "so you don't inhale by accident" the cold air, Scambos said.

By contrast, the coldest U.S. temperature was a relatively balmy 27 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in Yellowstone, Wyoming on Monday.

"If you want soul-crushing cold, you really have to go overseas," Scambos said in a phone interview. "It's just a whole other level of cold because on that cold plateau, conditions are perfect."

Antarctica air is dry, the ground chilly, the skies cloudless. The cold air swoops down off a dome and gets trapped in a chilly lower spot "hugging the surface and sliding around."

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