(New Scientist) NO REFRIGERATORS needed here. A fish market, and freezing fog that the sun struggles to pierce, bear witness to the ferocious chills of Yakutsk, Siberia’s largest city – and the world’s coldest.
In January, when Swiss photographer Steeve Iuncker arrived in the Russian city, population 270,000, the temperature was -48 °C. “I won’t forget it,” he says. In less than a minute he lost feeling in his index finger. Then his camera froze.
With an average winter temperature of -40 °C, Yakutsk isn’t quite the coldest place on Earth – that crown goes to Antarctica. Nor is it the coldest settlement; the nearby towns of Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk average -47 °C in winter. But, built on a layer of permafrost, it is the coldest city, says Anton Vaks, who studies Siberian climates at the University of Oxford. The lowest temperature ever recorded there is -64.4 °C.