Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oymyakon, Russia : Coldest Inhabited place on the Earth

Oymyakon is a village in Oymyakonsky Ulus of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located along the Indigirka River.
Oymyakon is known as one of the candidates for the Northern Pole of Cold, because on January 26, 1926, a temperature of −71.2 °C (−96.2 °F) was recorded there (however, this fact is arguable because the temperature was not directly measured but obtained by extrapolation). This is the lowest recorded temperature for any permanently inhabited location on Earth. It is also the lowest temperature recorded in the Northern hemisphere, except for an unofficial lowest recorded temperature of −77.5 °C (−107.5 °F) at Mount Logan in the Yukon, Canada. Only Antarctica has recorded official lower temperatures with the lowest being −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) near the Russian station of Vostok ( see my post below ).

Its name in the Sakha language means "non-freezing water"; due to the presence of a natural hot spring nearby. The ground there is permanently frozen.

Oxford geographer Nick Middleton's television series and accompanying book on people who live in extreme climates discusses his visit to this village, and describes ways in which inhabitants cope with the extreme cold. Middleton describes how Oymyakon lies between two mountain ranges, trapping cold air in between the entire year. Extreme cold temperatures are frequent annually in Oymyakon with temperatures going below −40 °C regularly, even in 2008 temperatures were observed well below this, −60.2 °C (−76.4 °F) was recorded on the 19th of January.

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