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Science

Coldest Spot On Planet Earth Identified 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-a-jacket dept.
Thorfinn.au sends this news from NASA: "What is the coldest place on Earth? It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night. Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., joined a team of researchers reporting the findings Monday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Researchers analyzed 32 years' worth of data from several satellite instruments. They found temperatures plummeted to record lows dozens of times in clusters of pockets near a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, two summits on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau. The new record of minus 93.2 C was set Aug. 10, 2010."

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Coldest Spot On Planet Earth Identified

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @02:26PM (#45653495)

    I would have guessed "inside Dick Cheney's heart".

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @02:42PM (#45653683)

      That was the researchers' first thought too. But no matter how long they spent looking for it, they just could not find the damn thing, apparently it resides at a "secure undisclosed location".

    • They said "coldest", not "evilist".
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I would have guessed "inside Dick Cheney's heart".

      Ah, but his burns with capitalism! Nothing, but nothing warmed the cockles of his heart like the 8 billion no-bid contract given to the company he was once CEO of.

      • by ScentCone (795499)

        Nothing, but nothing warmed the cockles of his heart like the 8 billion no-bid contract given to the company he was once CEO of.

        Name one other company that even offered (let alone could deliver - never mind competitively, price-wise) what Haliburton specialized in doing. Please, go ahead.

        While you're hunting down that non-existent company, please also discuss on the no-bid contract awarded to the company that so gloriously just executed Healthcare.gov, despite there being all kinds of competition (to say nothing of companies with competent track records) willing and able to do the job.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          Nothing, but nothing warmed the cockles of his heart like the 8 billion no-bid contract given to the company he was once CEO of.

          Name one other company that even offered (let alone could deliver - never mind competitively, price-wise) what Haliburton specialized in doing. Please, go ahead.

          While you're hunting down that non-existent company, please also discuss on the no-bid contract awarded to the company that so gloriously just executed Healthcare.gov, despite there being all kinds of competition (to say nothing of companies with competent track records) willing and able to do the job.

          And WHY do you think Haliburton was in a position to provide all of those services, hmmm? Former CEO is the power behind the throne and it has always looked to me like Dick passed them a note, upon being elected to the VP office, "You guys be ready. We'll find a reason to go in and had a very, very big order for services. I'll never believe they weren't positioned for the day they'd be called upon, with the understanding they would be called upon.

          • by ScentCone (795499)
            So, basically your theory is something out of a bad Clive Cussler story, even though that company had been doing exactly the same sort of work since the 1920's. Just like Cussler, you should do more research if you want your fiction to be the least bit plausible.
    • I would have guessed "inside Dick Cheney's heart".

      Which one? The bastard goes through 'em like Paul Reubens goes through Kleenex. [wikipedia.org]

  • Cool! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jonyen (2633919) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @02:27PM (#45653501)
    That's a great place for a datacenter!
    • Re:Cool! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @02:39PM (#45653645)

      Our data centers on snow covered mountains are the hardest to keep cool. Snow is an excellent insulator.

      • by cyn1c77 (928549)

        Snow is an excellent insulator, but also really likes to keep things at 0 C or colder. So if you put your heat exchangers on the roof, you can basically guarantee that they will always be exchanging heat with an atmosphere that is 0 C or colder.

        If you are more intelligent with your design and run your heat exchangers hot enough to melt any snow, you can then radiate directly into the antarctic air and really dump some serious heat quickly.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          What do you think will happen to all the runoff, Einstein? You'll wind up with your radiator encased in an ice bubble, and a foot of water in your datacenter.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            What do you think will happen to all the runoff, Einstein?

            It runs down the drains that double as the heat exchangers and off the building?

            Are you really that dumb or do you beat yourself in the head with rocks every day to meet your personal goal?

        • Re:Cool! (Score:4, Informative)

          by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @05:33PM (#45655623) Journal
          That is basically the GP's point, a snow covered data centre is like an igloo, the heat generated by the servers/people inside can't escape so it becomes a lot warmer that the surrounding ice, but due to the large amount of ice it's thermal inertia ensures the walls don't melt. You need to get past the ice to dissipate the heat effectively. Old English pubs with 3 foot thick stone walls don't need heaters when full for exactly the same reason.
        • um... it doesn't stay winter forever.

          • by cellocgw (617879)

            um... it doesn't stay winter forever.

            except in pre-wardrobe Narnia, and quite possibly in Westeros, starting somewhere in Book 5.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            um... it doesn't stay winter forever.

            It does in Antarctica, dufus.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Is it the snow or the altitude that's causing your cooling woes (or maybe both)? Cooling performance will be negatively impacted with increased altitude and lower air pressure. Telecom equipment environmental operating requirements (like those defined in GR-63/NEBS, for example) often allow equipment to be derated when operated above certain altitudes (e.g. 1800m in the NEBS case).

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Our data centers on snow covered mountains are the hardest to keep cool. Snow is an excellent insulator.

        Why do you have datacenters on snow covered mountains, do you work for a bond villain?

    • They got weather stations that wont work properly. I highly suspect the datacenter can do better
  • I may have to get a pair of wool socks.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I may have to get a pair of wool socks.

      Wigwams at CostCo. $12 for a set of 3 pair!

      I do not work at CostCo, nor own stock, I merely worship there

  • Guaranteed coolest vacation you will ever take
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @02:34PM (#45653579) Journal
    Considering CO2 freezes at -78C... Yikes. That's cold...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Considering CO2 freezes at -78C... Yikes. That's cold...

      Sounds like a good place to set up a mars simulator.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @02:52PM (#45653807) Homepage Journal

      Wow. So, what happens the atmospheric CO2 in that case? Would it precipitate as "dry ice" snow?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Wow. So, what happens the atmospheric CO2 in that case? Would it precipitate as "dry ice" snow?

        Ecellent question.

        If it's atmospheric temps then "dry ice" shoud precipictate. Yes?

        Then again, if it's radiated temps, that's differnet. Yes?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_gas_law

        It is close to being able to create solid CO2, but the pressure at the altitude might have caused it to remain a cold gas. I'm also not sure how much CO2 is at that location. It isn't China bad down there.

      • by careysub (976506) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @04:24PM (#45654885)

        Wow. So, what happens the atmospheric CO2 in that case? Would it precipitate as "dry ice" snow?

        Vapor pressure of carbon dioxide at -100 C: 100 mm. Actual partial pressure of CO2 on average in Earth's lower atmosphere: 0.3 mm. Partial pressure of CO2 in exhaled breath: 38 mm. So no, no dry ice snow - the vapor pressure is still too high. At around -110 C the possibility of "dry ice frost breath" becomes possible. It would have to be near -140 C before CO2 would start condensing out of the air.

      • by amaurea (2900163) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @04:35PM (#45654985) Homepage

        CO2 freezes at 78 C at a partial pressure of 1 atmosphere. That means that if the atmosphere were 100% CO2, and we were at sea level, but still at -93 C, then there would be CO2 snowing out of the atmosphere. However, the partial pressure of CO2 is much lower than 1 atmosphere simply because so little of the atmosphere is CO2. Since only 0.0397% of the air is CO2, and the local pressure (due to the high altitude) is about 0.65 atm, the partial pressure will be 2.6e-5 atmospheres. At that partial pressure the CO2 freezing temperature is less than -140 C [wordpress.com] (I couldn't find a diagram that went quite far enough down in pressure).

        The physical reason for this is that there are two competing processes involved. CO2 molecules bumping into a solid speck of CO2 and getting stuck (freezing), and CO2 molecules shaking loose from a solid (sublimation). But the former process proceeds faster the more CO2 gas there is, i.e. the more often these collisions happen. Hence the dependence on the partial pressure.

  • Well, as this is cold enough for Carbon Dioxide to freeze, I imagine it gets a cool witch's cauldron effect when it warms up for the summer...

  • If an average man were naked at that spot - how long until he dies?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure we've made colder temperatures in labs...

  • uh, you meant on a clear SUMMER night, right?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seasons are relative. Because it's summer where you live, it doesn't mean it's summer everywhere. August is winter in Antarctica.

  • But unfortunately due to a combination of global warming and Cheney's gay daughter coming out, Cheney has lost the world record to East Antarctic Plateau.
  • by bstarrfield (761726) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @02:58PM (#45653861)

    Certainly the coldest spot on earth... just saying.

  • No slashdot article can be complete until the remark about how much colder that place was before AGW kicked in.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @03:34PM (#45654269)

      No slashdot article can be complete until the remark about how much colder that place was before AGW kicked in.

      Actually, it could be *warmer* before AGW.

      AGW has an annoying effect of moving weather away from moderation to extremes. So the cold gets colder, the warms get hotter, the temperate drier or wetter (droughts/floods), etc.

      That's the main effects of climate change - the weather starts hitting the extremes. You get drought, followed by extensive flooding, followed by drought, etc. Summers get hotter still, winters get even colder.

  • A friend of a friend just posted this on FB and I thought it was really interesting: "We know someone who is down there right now. They actually have to have heaters in their refrigerators to keep them from getting too cold."
    • by hubie (108345) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @03:33PM (#45654259)
      A friend of mine winter-overed twice in Antarctica. They would play soccer at the South Pole and every now and again they would have to throw the ball in the microwave to warm it up and re-inflate it. Also, on New Years Eve they would go out every hour and have a drink at midnight in a different time zone. :P
  • Maybe. But they need to take a measurement from the center of my ex-wife's heart before they put down any records.

  • I'm from Wisconsin. It was 3 today. Yeah, 3F. I didn't bother to put my 2nd glove on for a run between buildings in the snow in 20 MPH winds because I was eating a donut. I would, I guess, consider that location "cold." We played airsoft one time in -11 real and -28 wind chill temps and it was only a little chilly. I have a feeling Packer fans could still go shirtless in this "coldest location" as long as they had soup or cappuccino in a thermos.
  • > minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius)
    minus 92 degrees Celsius (minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit)

    There i fixed that for you.

  • ...to find one of Dick Cheney's summer mansions built there. Apparently it's his favorite home away from home where he's free to let it all hang out. His tentacles, that is.

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