While there are no predetermined criteria for determining whether or not a place can be classified as cold, an analysis of the past and present weather data gives a good idea. Things that can be analyzed include the lowest temperature ever recorded, the length and severity of the winter season, as well as the hottest periods.
Normally, any region that has temperatures close or below the freezing point is considered to be cold. Plenty of places on earth that snow are therefore cold. However, there are places on earth that are inhabited by people that have recorded temperatures way below the freezing point. All these places are in Russia.
Oymyakon is a village in the Yakutia region of Russia. The village is the coldest place on the planet that has been inhabited by people. The village received the title of the coldest place after the temperatures dropped to −67.7 °C (−89.9 °F) on February 6, 1933. The area is so cold that car engines are sometimes kept running continuously lest the fuel freezes.
At times, the average temperature for December, January, and February may go below −50 °C (−58 °F). During winter, an incredible 21 hours of a day are in darkness. Further, Oymyakon is only one of two inhabited places on earth that have had temperatures of below −60.0 °C (−76 °F) for the entire month of January. Even what passes for summer there is sometimes cold. The warmest month had an average temperature of 18.7 °C (65.7 °F) although summer temperatures may hit above 30 °C (86 °F).
Verkhoyansk is a town in Russia which is about 391 miles by air from Oymyakon. This city is the other inhabited place on earth to have temperatures of below −60.0 °C (−76 °F) for the entire month of January. The lowest recorded temperature was −67.6 °C (−89.7 °F) recorded on February 5 & 7, 1892.
Verkhoyansk also has the greatest temperature range on the planet of 105 °C (189 °F). Only two other places, Oymyakon and Yakutsk, have a temperature range of above 100 °C (180 °F).
Yakutsk is the coldest major city on earth with a lowest temperature of −64.4 °C (−83.9 °F) recorded on February 5, 1891. The city, also in Russia, is some distance south of the Arctic Circle.
The coldest month, January 1900, in the city averaged −51.2 °C (−60.2 °F). Winters are long and cold while the summer is warm albeit short. Between November 10 and March 14, Yakutsk has never had a temperature above freezing. On the other hand, the warmest month, July 1894, averaged temperatures of 23.2 °C (73.8 °F). Temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) and above are not uncommon during the summer.
Technically, Antarctica has the lowest recorded temperatures on earth. The temperatures once dropped to −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F). However, the region is inhabited.
Other habited regions on earth that are cold include Yellowknife in Canada with the lowest temperature being -60 °F in 1947, Winnipeg with lowest temperature being -54 °F in 1879. Others include The Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, Eureka in Nunavut, Harbin in China, among others.