Coldest Recorded Temperatures on the Planet

We've seen some downright cold temperatures in the past few weeks, but when it comes to record-lows, we're nowhere close.

So what is the coldest temperature ever recorded on earth?

We've already went through a couple of cold waves this winter. Many areas have dropped into the single digits this month. One e-mail sent to WSAZ Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick has to do with cold temperatures. Billy Baldwin in Proctorville, Ohio asked what the coldest temperatures recorded on earth are.

The coldest temperature in the United States was in Alaska at Prospect Creek Camp in the northern part of the state near the Endicott Mountains. On the morning of January 23, 1971 the thermometer dipped to a teeth chattering 79.8 degrees below zero. The coldest temperature ever recorded on earth was in, not surprisingly, Antarctica.

At the Russian research station of Vostok on July 21, 1983, the temperature was a numbing 129 degrees below zero. It was in July because in the southern hemisphere at the South Pole, July is a winter month, while it's a summer month here in the northern hemisphere. Right now as we're in winter, it's summer south of the equator.

To get that temperature measurement you can't use a regular mercury thermometer because mercury freezes at about 38 degrees below zero. You would have to use an alcohol thermometer. Its freezing point is 175 degrees below zero.

If you have a weather related question for Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick, simply shoot him an email to, and if you're lucky, Josh will read and answer your question.

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