Sighting. Oymyakon in Russia – coldest town in the Northern Hemisphere

A minibus drives along an ice road across the Lena river, outside Yakutsk in the Republic of Sakha, northeast Russia.

A minibus drives along an ice road across the Lena river, outside Yakutsk in the Republic of Sakha, northeast Russia.

Map of Sakha (Yakutia) Republic

Oymyakon is located in Sakha

The coldest temperatures in the northern hemisphere have been recorded in Sakha, the location of the Oymyakon valley, where according to the United Kingdom Met Office a temperature of minus 67.8 degrees Celsius  (−90 °F) was registered in February 6, 1933 at Oymyakon’s weather station. It is called the coldest on record in the northern hemisphere since the beginning of the 20th century.

However, in 1924 a temperature of −71.2 °C (−96 °F) was recorded in Oymyakon. That is the lowest temperature ever recorded in a habitat center. There is a sign in Oymyakon that recalls this event (http://all-that-is-interesting.com/worlds-coldest-city/2).

Only Antarctica has recorded lower official temperatures (the lowest being −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F), recorded at Vostok Station on 21 July 1983.

Yet despite the harsh climate, people live in the valley, and the area is equipped with schools, a post office, a bank, and even an airport runway (albeit open only in the summer). Oymyakon’s single schools closes only when the temperature drops to 61 degrees F below zero. It is named after the Oymyakon River, whose name reportedly comes from the Even word kheium, meaning “unfrozen patch of water; place where fish spend the winter.” However, another source states that the Even word heyum (hэjум) (kheium may be a misspelling) means “frozen lake.”

The city of Yakutsk, population 210,000 is a three day-drive away, and is the world’s coldest major city. There, according to the BBC, residents leave their cars running all day. Gasoline can freeze solid if the vehicle is not left running. Visitors are advised not to wear glasses outside, as they may become difficult to subsequently remove.

With files from Moscow Times, Christian Science Monitor, Wikipedia, TASS. All photos Maxim Shemetov / Reuters 

Yakutsk Winter Tour http://bit.ly/yakutskwinter

Walking in the center of Yakutsk City, Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia / Russia. It’s cold today. -51C.

A car drives through the snow at night near Vostochnaya meteorological station.

A car drives through the snow at night near Vostochnaya meteorological station.

Alexander Gubin, 43, prepares to dive into the frozen Labynkyr lake.

Alexander Gubin, 43, prepares to dive into the frozen Labynkyr lake.

A thermometer shows a temperature around minus 55 degrees Celsius in the village of Tomtorin.

A thermometer shows a temperature around minus 55 degrees Celsius in the village of Tomtorin.

A view of the snowy landscape near Vostochnaya meteorological station in the Oymyakon valley.

A view of the snowy landscape near Vostochnaya meteorological station in the Oymyakon valley.

A man walks through a courtyard in Yakutsk.

A man walks through a courtyard in Yakutsk.

Traffic lights are seen covered in snow in Yakutsk.

Traffic lights are seen covered in snow in Yakutsk.

Ships are moored on the banks of a river for the winter.

Ships are moored on the banks of a river for the winter.

A man, eyelashes covered with hoarfrost, is seen in a street.

A man, eyelashes covered with hoarfrost, is seen in a street.

Ships are moored on the banks of a river for the winter.

Ships are moored on the banks of a river for the winter.


The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic

The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic is a federal subject of Russia (a republic). It has a population of 958,528 (2010 Census),[7] consisting mainly of ethnic Yakuts and Russians. Comprising half of the Far Eastern Federal District, it is the largest subnational governing body by area in the world at 3,083,523 square kilometres (1,190,555 sq mi) and the eighth largest territory in the world, if the federal subjects of Russia were compared with other countries. It is larger than Argentina and just smaller than India, which covers an area of 3,287,590 square kilometres (1,269,350 sq mi). Its capital is the city of Yakutsk. The Sakha Republic is one of the ten autonomous Turkic Republics within the Russian Federation.

Russian post miniature sheet. 2006. Fauna of the Sakha Republic. Each stamp pictures a different animal with its baby. The animals that are pictured are: the Ross's Gull (Rhodostethia rosea) whose common name is a tribute to James Clark Ross (1800-1862) a British naval officer the Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus) the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) the horse (Equus caballus) the reindeer (Rangifer tarandes) also called the caribou in North America

Russian post miniature sheet. 2006. Fauna of the Sakha Republic. Each stamp pictures a different animal with its baby. The animals that are pictured are: the Ross’s Gull (Rhodostethia rosea) whose common name is a tribute to James Clark Ross (1800-1862) a British naval officer the Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus) the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) the horse (Equus caballus) the reindeer (Rangifer tarandes) also called the caribou in North America

Statehood Day celebrations in Yakutsk

Statehood Day celebrations in Yakutsk

Russia Day celebrations in Mirny, 12 June 2014

Russia Day celebrations in Mirny, 12 June 2014

Yakut dance with traditional clothing.

Yakut dance with traditional clothing.

Forests near Oymyakon in Yakutia, Russia | Maarten Taakens

Forests near Oymyakon in Yakutia, Russia | Maarten Taakens

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1 Comment

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One response to “Sighting. Oymyakon in Russia – coldest town in the Northern Hemisphere

  1. Pingback: Sighting. More about Oymyakon, the world’s coldest town | Tony Seed's Weblog

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