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Dear Tom,
What is the coldest temperature ever recorded on the Earth?

Milton Darrell, Champaign, Ill.

Dear Milton,
The Earth’s lowest temperature was recorded at the Vostok station operated by Russia, -128.6 degrees, on July 21, 1983. That record stood until a new and colder reading was registered in the interior of Antarctica in August, 2010: -135.8 degrees. The reading was made by satellite and not by direct human measurement and so it will not be recorded as the Earth’s lowest temperature. The reading of -135.8 degrees was determined at the bottom of a shallow depression six to nine feet lower than the prevailing ice surface said Ted Scambos, an ice scientist who made the announcement at an American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco recently.