The Coldest Permanently Inhabited Place On Earth Is?
Answer: Oymyakon, Russia
Just about everyone likes to complain about how cold it gets during the winter, but once you read about life in Oymyakon, Russia you might find yourself more than thankful for the weather in your locale.
Oymyakon is the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth. The village of five hundred people is located in the northeastern Russian territory of the Sakha Republic and has average temperatures so chilly we won’t blame you if you read them in disbelief. The daily mean temperature of Oymyakon is 4.8 °F and the chilliest month, January, has a daily mean temperature of -53.3 °F. The record low for Oymyakon is -89.9 °F, a staggering 121.9 degrees below freezing. In 1924, a record-breaking low of -96.2 °F was recorded and souvenirs from the village are still emblazoned with -71.2 (the Celsius equivalent) as a reminder of how truly cold it can get.
The extreme cold makes for some interesting adaptations. Citizens have problems starting their cars, so the only option left to them is to heat the engine blocks with an open flame blowtorch. The majority of their nutrients come from fish and animal meat as there is no local farming; importing food to the remote village is difficult.
Although citizens of Oymyakon do suffer through eight months of sub-freezing temperatures (it’s typically below 32 °F from October to April), they do get a summer respite from the cold. For a brief window in June, July, and August the daily mean temperature rests between 51-60 °F with the occasional heatwave that brings it up as high as 94 °F. Thanks to those rare heat waves, Oymyakon has one of the broadest temperature spreads of any human settlement; in a year with extreme winters and summers it isn’t unusual for the record high and low temperature to swing 184.1 °F between the depths of winter and the warmth of summer.
Image courtesy of Maarten Takens.