It took almost 30 years and a team of “climate detectives,” but on Wednesday the World Meteorological Organization announced it had verified a temperature reading of 93.3 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in Greenland, the lowest ever in the Northern Hemisphere.
It was reported at the Klinck station, at an elevation of about 10,000 feet near the summit of the Greenland ice sheet, not a particularly hot vacation spot, even in pre-COVID-19 times.
The new reading, originally recorded in December 1991, ends the long-standing hemispheric reign of the 90 below measured at Verkhoyanksk, in eastern Siberia, set in 1892.
Followers of climate matters would likely recognize the name: That’s the town where a shocking 100-degree temperature was reported last June but has not yet been verified.
In a news release, the WMO said its “climate detectives" were still working on that one.
Documenting extremes is a big deal, and the data aren’t entered into the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes until it is vetted.
“In the era of climate change, much attention focuses on new heat records," WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said in a news release. “This newly recognized cold record is an important reminder about the stark contrasts that exist on this planet.
"We are now able to investigate many of these older records and secure a better global understanding of not only current, but also historical, climate extremes,” he said.
The world’s record for lowest temperature appears to be safe from any challenges from the Arctic. That reading was 128.6 below zero Fahrenheit, at the high-altitude Vostok weather station in Antarctica.