Antarctica takes position number one among the coldest places on earth. Mostly uninhabited except for penguin and seal colonies found along the coast, Antarctica has practically no match on the temperature department. At the Plateau Station, temperatures can easily plummet to -119.23° Fahrenheit (-84° Celsius) and the annual average temperature barely reaches -32.8°F (-36°C). The record as the coldest place, however, goes to Vostok Station, Antarctica, where the temperature reached -129°F (-89.4°C) on 21 July 1983. Scientists are the only humans to live on Antarctica for months at a time, and even they do it only in summer.
Of all inhabited areas, one of the coldest areas in the world is Siberia. Although global warming has taken a toll on Siberian winters over the past decade, it's normal for temperatures to reach -60°F (-51.1°C) in January. Oymyakon, in Eastern Siberia, has an average winter temperature of -49°F (−45°C), and may have reached a low of -96.16°F (-71.2°C), although the official record is -90°F (-67.7°C). The little village is home to 900 permanent residents, who endure winter for nine months out of the year, and considered -30°F (−34.4°C) "balmy." The area is so cold that empty plastic bags taken outside will freeze within minutes and then crack like glass.
Outside of Russia, the prize for one of the coldest areas goes to Greenland, where the cities of Northice and Eismitte frequently see temperatures of -50°F (-45.5°C). The Yukon, Canada, falls close behind by only a few degrees. In the US, one of the coldest places is definitively International Falls, Minnesota, where temperatures normally reach -32°F (-35.5°C) in winter. Prospect Creek, Alaska, has broken several records in the American continent, including reaching -79.8°F (-62.1°C) in 2003.
To survive in the coldest places in the world, humans have had to adapt their environment and lifestyle significantly. Everything freezes at such low temperatures, from electronics to gasoline to pen ink; batteries lose power and pipes crack under the pressure exerted by ice and snow. In Ojmjakon, children are not allowed to play outside for more than 20 minutes at a time during a typical winter day. At -60°F (-51.1°C), their lungs can freeze and collapse. Despite all the difficulties, humans have found a way to change the environment and survive. Many of the coldest areas in the world now attract tourists who are eager to see, at least for a few days, what real winter is all about.