Can you imagine what negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit feels like? There are places across the globe where this temp is the norm – and where winter‘s plunging temps routinely range from negative 30 to negative 100. From arctic research stations to parts of Siberia, here are the coldest places on Earth.
Eastern Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica
How cold does it get? -132 degrees Fahrenheit
Located in East Antarctica (or the South Pole), the Antarctic Plateau is at the top of this list with temperatures that can fall to -132 degrees Fahrenheit (-92 degrees Celsius). With high elevations, high latitudes, frigid winds, and long, sunless winters, people don’t “live” here in the “residential” sense, but there are research groups who frequent this part of the globe.
Vostok Station, Antarctica
How cold does it get? -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit
Also in Antarctica but located in Princess Elizabeth Land, Vostok Station is a Russian research station that experiences temperatures as low as -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit (or -89.2 degrees Celsius). Its specific spot on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet makes it the best place to track changes happening to the Earth’s magnetosphere and climate. It’s also considered one of the driest places on earth due to its lack of precipitation.
Amundsen-Scott Station, Antarctica
How cold does it get? -99 degrees Fahrenheit
At Amundsen–Scott South Pole, you’ll find the United States scientific research station where researchers experience temperatures as low as 99 degrees Fahrenheit (or 73 degrees Celsius). Not only is it unfathomably cold, but the sun disappears for a full six months without break. Notably, the late Anthony Bourdain visited Amundsen–Scott South Pole for an episode of his show, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” in 2016.
Summit Camp, Greenland
How cold does it get? -93.28 degrees Fahrenheit
Located on an ice sheet in Greenland, Summit Camp clocked the coldest temperature on Earth at the time in 1991, which was -93.28 degrees Fahrenheit (other spots have been colder since!). It landed 3rd on our list because the spot’s temperatures typically range from -49 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The human population ranges from 1 to 38 (researchers) depending on the time of year.
North Ice, Greenland
How cold does it get? -87 degrees Fahrenheit
Another research station, North Ice, Greenland, has recorded a low temperature of -87 degrees Fahrenheit (or -66 degrees celsius). Set up during the British North Greenland Expedition in the 1950s, no one lives here currently as the ice sheets are not inhabitable.
Prospect Creek, Alaska, United States of America
How cold does it get? -79.8 degrees Fahrenheit
Prospect Creek, Alaska was initially a home base for various mining expeditions and the base camp for workers building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in the ‘70s. Its record low temp of -79.8 degrees Fahrenheit is why it landed on our list, though average temps float around a balmy -62 to 20.9 degrees. The camp has been abandoned since the ‘90s.
Yakutsk, Siberia, Russia
How cold does it get? -60 degrees Fahrenheit
With average temperatures that range from -60 to 17 degrees Fahrenheit, Yakutsk is one of the coldest places on earth that’s actually home to communities, buildings, and modern living. With a population of 355,443 (according to the 2021 census), this Russian port city is known for the beautiful (frozen!) Volga river and for diamond, gold, and uranium mines.
Oymyakon, Siberia, Russia
How cold does it get? -56.7 degrees Fahrenheit (average low)
Once called the “coldest inhabited place on Earth” based on his record low temperature of -89.9 in 1933, a small population of families (500 people) live in this part of otherwise remote Siberia. This insanely cold town has seen an average low temperature of -56.7 degrees Fahrenheit in more recent years. This is a story of extremes however, since summer temperatures can climb as high as 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit!
Denali, Alaska, US
How cold does it get? -44 degrees Fahrenheit
Beautiful Denali, Alaska hosts a population of 1,619 year-round, according to the 2020 census. While early inhabitants of Denali were mostly nomadic native Alaskans, today, all kinds of people flock here by land and by cruise ship to enjoy the snow, rivers and mountains.
Snag, Yukon Territory, Canada
How cold does it get? -23 degrees Fahrenheit
With average lows that hover around -23 degrees Fahrenheit, Snag, Canada, known for its bowl-shaped valley along the White River, has a year-round population of 557, according to the 2021 census. There was a military airfield here in the ‘60s, but these days, White River is home to private family homes, a heritage museum and beautiful nature trails. Does the town name sound slightly familiar? In 1950, a U.S. Air Force plane disappeared in the vicinity of Snag. Aboard were 34 service personnel, 2 civilians, and a crew of 8. The wreckage was never found.