The Coldest Cities by Continent

By Geoffrey Migiro on March 27 2019 in World Facts

The Northern Lights in Iqaluit, Canada, which is the coldest city in North America.
The Northern Lights in Iqaluit, Canada, which is the coldest city in North America.

For some towns around the world, the winter season is icy cold. Some of the coldest regions in the world are situated in the far northern latitudes, where the freezing arctic air is persistent, and the temperature often dips to double-digits below zero. Other cities experience cold throughout the year, and have a temperature high of 10 °C, while others experience freezing winter seasons and warm summers. The coldest cities in the world by continent and listed below.

6. Africa: Ouarzazate (9.5/49.1)

Quarzazate is located in the Sahara Desert and is one of the coldest cities in Africa. Also referred to as the door-of-the-desert, the city is the capital of the Quarzazate province of south-central Morocco. Quarzazate is situated in the middle of a plateau on the southern part of the Atlas Mountains. The city has an elevation of 3.810 feet, and the south part of the town is the desert. Quarzazate is usually dry and hot during the summer, but extremely cold in winter, especially with the icy wind coming from the Atlas Mountains. July is the hottest month in the city, with an average temperature of 29.5 °C, followed by an average of 28.8 °C in August . The coldest months in the city occur between November and February. January is the coldest month and has an average of 9.3 °C. The region's wettest month is usually February, with an average rainfall of 40 mm. The temperature in January can reach a low of -7 °C.

5. Asia: Yakutsk (-38.6/-37.5)

Located about 280 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Yakutsk is the capital city of the Sakha Republic in Russia. Yakutsk is the primary port of the Lena River. With an average temperature of -8.8 °C, Yakutsk is the coldest city in Russia, and on Earth. Yakutsk is a big town that sits on permafrost, and most buildings are built on solid piles. Given the extreme sub-arctic climate, the city experiences the coldest winter temperature. The lowest temperature on Earth ever recorded outside the Antarctica was recorded from the Yana river basin to the northeastern side of the city, thus making it the coldest place on Earth. The city registered the lowest ever temperature of -64.4 °C on February 5, 1891. September is the typically Yakutsk's coldest month, with an average temperature of -6.1 °C. The coldest month ever registered in the city was in January 1900, which averaged at -51.2 °C. The temperature in the city ranges between 19.5 °C and -38.4 °C. The hottest month ever experienced in Yakutsk was July 1894, with an average temperature of 23.2 °C. On July 17, 2011, the city recorded its highest temperature in history at 38.4 °C.

4. Europe: Arkhangelsk (-12.7/9.1)

The city of Arkhangelsk, also referred to as Archangelsk or archangel in English, is the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast. Arkhangelsk is located in the northern part of European Russia, and lies on the banks of the Northern Divina River, near where the river meets the White Sea. Arkhangelsk stretches over 25 miles along the bank of the river and many islands of the delta. The city experiences sub-Arctic climate during the cold winter season, which begins in November and ends in March. The coldest month during winter is January, with an average of -12.7 °C. The city experiences significant rainfall even during the driest months, with an average annual low of 27 mm of rain in February.

3. North America: Iqaluit (-26.9/-16.4)

Iqaluit is the capital and the only city in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. The name Iqaluit is a Inuktitut term that means ‘’place-of-fish.’’ Iqaluit was referred to as the Frobisher Bay until the end of 1987. In 1999, Canada's Northwest Territories was divided into two separate territories, and Iqaluit became the capital of the new Nunavut territory. Prior to this event, the city was relatively unknown outside the Canadian Arctic. Although located outside the Arctic Circle, Iqaluit experiences the tundra climate which is common in Arctic regions. The permafrost on the ground prevents taproots from going deeper than 6 inches, thus making it impossible for tall trees to grow. On February 10, 1967, the city registered a temperature of -45.6 °C, which is the lowest recorded. The hottest month in Iqaluit is July, which averages a temperature of 16.3 °C, while the coldest month is January, with temperatures as low as -12 °C. The average temperature is below zero between November and March.

2. Oceania: Lake Tekapo (1.4/34.5)

The town of Lake Tekapo is situated on the south end of Lake Tekapo on New Zealand's Southern Island. According to the 2013 census, Lake Tekapo has 369 residences and is one of the sparsely populated settlements in the Mackenzie Basin. Lake Tekapo experiences an oceanic climate with dry, cold winters and mild, sunny summers. Lake Tekapo has seventy-eight days of rain, which produces more than 600mm of rain annually and extremely cold winters. The coldest month is July, which experiences an average temperature of 1.4 °C. The town has no dry season, and experiences heavy precipitation during the winters, which are dominated by mid-latitude cyclones.

1. South America: Ushuaia (1.6/34.9)

Ushuaia is the capital city of Argentina's Tierra-del-Fuego province. Ushuaia is the southern-most city on Earth, located on the wide bay of the south coastal region of the Isla Grande-de-Tierra, and is bounded by the Martial Mountain range on the northern side and Beagle Channel to the south. Agusto Lasserre established Ushuaia on October 12, 1884. The city experiences a significantly ocean-moderated mild-tundra climate, with extremely mild summers and winters, which means the average temperature in this area ranges between 1.3 °C and 10 °C. The coldest month in Ushuaia is July, with an average temperature of 1.3 °C, while January is the warmest month and has an average temperature of 9.6 °C.

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