The Poles of Cold are places in the northern and southern hemispheres that have registered the lowest air temperatures, and are therefore considered to be the coldest part of each hemisphere. The northern hemisphere has two places that are considered to be the Poles of Cold, which are Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon, while the southern hemisphere's Pole of Cold is located in Vostok Station, Antarctica.
Poles of Cold in the Northern Hemisphere
Two places in the northern hemisphere are tied in terms of the lowest recorded air temperatures, and both are located in the Sakha Republic, which is federal republic of Russia: Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon.
Verkhoyansk is a town in the Verkhoyansky District, Sakha Republic, Russia. The town is situated on the Yana River, near the Arctic Circle, and is approximately 57 miles from Batagay and 419 miles from Yakutsk. Verkhoyansk occupies an area of about 10 sq mi and had an estimated population of 1,311 people in 2010. The town is known for its low temperatures during winter, with an average temperature of −45.4 °C in January, but reaches an average of +16.5 °C in July. In fact, Verkhoyansk holds the Guinness world record for the highest temperature range (105 °C) between winter and summer.
Ivan Khudyakov discovered Verkhoyansk as a Northern Pole of Cold when he recorded a temperature of -63.2 °C in December 1868 and February 1869. Sergey Kovalik recorded a temperature of -67.8°C in the same place on January 15, 1885. The most reliable recorded temperature of Verkhoyansk (-67.6°C) was measured on February 5, 1892 and February 7, 1892.
Oymyakon is a rural locality in the District of Oymyakonsky, Sakha Republic, Russia. The locality had an estimated population of 492 in 2010, and is situated 19 miles northwestern of Tomtor, along the Indigirka River. Oymyakon is situated between two valleys, which trap cold winds, resulting in its cold climate. In fact, Oymyakon is one of coldest permanently inhabited places in the world. The ground in Oymyakon is permanently frozen, and children can attend school only when the temperature is warmer than -55 °C. A temperature of -67.7 °C was recorded at Oymyakon's weather station on February 6, 1933. The weather station is situated in a valley between Tomtor and Oymyakon, at an elevation of about 2,460 ft.
Pole of Cold in the Southern Hemisphere
Vostok Station is a research station located on Princess-Elizabeth Land, Antarctica, near the Southern Pole. The Russian research station was established by the Soviet Union in 1957, and research conducted from the station includes magnetometry and ice-core drilling. Vostok Station is the Southern Pole of Cold, as well as the most remote research station in Antarctica. The station is typically occupied by 25 engineers and scientists during the summer, but that number drops to only 13 staff during the winter.
Vostok Station recorded the lowest temperature (-89.2 °C) ever measured on Earth on July 21, 1983. The station is situated at an altitude of about 11,444 feet, far from the climate moderating influences of the oceans. The temperature of the station rarely exceeds -25 °C during summer, but can drop below -70 °C in winter. Due to its elevation, the South Pole is 5 °C to 10 °C warmer than Vostok station. Additionally, Vostok Station is located about 800 miles from the Geographic South Pole.