Parts of Canada colder than Mars and Antarctica
Mars, Antarctica or Mount Everest Base Camp might be warmer alternatives for some Canadians on Thursday, as the country faces an epic cold snap that has plunged the mercury to record-setting lows in many regions.
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Environment Canada issued a slew of extreme cold weather alerts Thursday, with forecasts calling for daily highs in the -20 to -30 degrees Celsius range in many major cities. However, overnight temperatures and wind chill factors are expected to make it feel much, much colder – in the neighbourhood of -40 C in some places, according to several warnings.
Those mind-boggling numbers are colder than some of the chilliest places on (or off) the planet.
Here’s a look at some of the infamously cold locations known to humans, which might be preferable to the temperatures being recorded in various Canadian cities on Thursday.
Hell – Norway, -1 C
Most cities in Canada are colder than Hell, the Norwegian town that regularly flirts with the freezing point through much of December. It’s not an especially frigid community, but the conveniently-named town has served up many “Hell has frozen over” jokes over the years.
Nevertheless, coastal B.C. was the only part of Canada on Thursday where temperatures were at or above the temperature in Hell. Environment Canada’s forecast for Vancouver calls for a high of 3 C, while Victoria is expecting temperatures as high as 4 C.
Antarctica – Amundsen-Scott Weather Station, -16 C
The South Pole is currently enjoying its summer season, when the sun sets for only about an hour. That’s brought the temperature up to a relatively toasty -16 C at the Amundsen-Scott Weather Station in Antarctica.
That temperature makes Antarctica as warm or slightly warmer than parts of Atlantic Canada. It was -15 C in Halifax Thursday morning, and -17 C in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Only St. John’s, N.L. witnessed temperatures significantly higher than Antarctica, at -5 C.
Mars – Gale Crater, -23 C
An afternoon on Mars might seem balmy by comparison, with the daily high reaching a temperature of -23 C on Thursday. That’s roughly equivalent to the morning temperatures recorded in Toronto (-19 C), Montreal (-24 C), Calgary (-23 C) and Winnipeg (-20 C).
But while wind chill and nightfall are likely to bring those Canadian temperatures 10-20 degrees lower, they’re still preferable to a night on the Martian surface. NASA’s Curiosity rover recorded a minimum air temperature of -80 C on Thursday.
Oymyakon, Russia – coldest inhabited place on Earth, -29 C
Temperatures regularly dip below -50 C in Oymyakon, Russia, the coldest continually inhabited community on the planet. But even Oymyakon would be preferable to some places in Canada on Thursday.
The weather was actually colder in Saskatoon (-32 C) than Oymyakon (-29 C) on Thursday.
Everest Base Camp, -35 C
Residents of Yellowknife and Churchill, Man., might prefer conditions on Mount Everest to those they are facing today. Yellowknife’s morning temperature was -36 C, while the isolated northern community of Churchill experienced temperatures of just -38 C. Churchill’s pre-dawn temperatures with the wind chill were measured at -49 C, according to Environment Canada.
That makes both communities colder than the -33 C daily high recorded at Everest Base Camp, some 5,000 metres above sea level in Nepal.