Friday, April 18, 2014

Antarctica set record low

WASHINGTON—Newly-analyzed satellite data from East Antarctica say the remote region has set a record for soul-crushing cold.
It happened in August, 2010 when it hit minus-135.8 F (minus-94.7 C).

Then on July 31 of this year, it came close again: minus-135.3 F (minus-92.9 C).
The old record had been minus-128.6 F (minus-89.2 C).
Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center announced the cold facts at the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco yesterday.
“It’s more like you’d see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles,” Scambos said.
“I’m confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth.”
However, it won’t be in the Guinness Book of World Records because these were satellite measured, not from thermometers, Scambos added.
“Thank God I don’t know how exactly it feels,” he quipped.
But Scambos said scientists routinely make naked 100-degree below zero F (minus-73 C) dashes outside in the South Pole as a stunt so people can survive that temperature for about three minutes.
Most of the time 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 added.
Waleed Abdalati, an ice scientist at the University of Colorado, said this is likely an unusual random reading in a place that hasn’t been measured much before, and could have been colder or hotter in the past.

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