China’s northernmost city sees the coldest temperature ever recorded

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On Sunday, Mohe, China’s northernmost city, saw temperatures drop to -63.4 degrees (minus -53 degrees Celsius). That is the coldest temperature recorded in the country in modern times, the local meteorological office confirmed.

Nestled near Russian Siberia, Mohe is an unusual location in China with a subarctic climate. While this city of nearly 85,000 people is typically cold, the chill over the weekend was truly exceptional — or about 36 degrees (20 degrees Celsius) below normal.

The low temperature was recorded by an automated temperature sensor; it surpassed the previous national record of minus 62.1 (minus 52.3 Celsius) set in 1969.

Cold extremes like this have become uncommon in recent decades due to human-induced climate change. Global warming is reducing the frequency and intensity of historic cold spells, but not eliminating them.

China’s historic cold contrasts sharply with the most extreme heat wave witnessed last summer.

Nearby weather stations also recorded extraordinarily low temperatures.

Another weather station in Mohe manned by an observer recorded a low of -59.4 degrees (minus -50.8 degrees Celsius). That was the coldest in China since 1969, tweeted specialist climate historian Maximilian Herrera. The temperature at this station fell to at least minus 58 degrees (minus-50 degrees Celsius) for three consecutive nights for the registered second time.

At least 18 weather stations dipped to minus 58 degrees (minus-50 degrees Celsius) or lower in China on Sunday morning, climate specialist Jim Yang tweeted. The cold has eased somewhat since then, but numerous readings of -40 degrees (minus -40 degrees Celsius) or lower were recorded on Monday.

Other locations in China including Huzhong at -57.6 degrees (minus -49.8 Celsius) and Tahe at -54.2 degrees (minus -47.9 Celsius) as well broke records Saturday.

Extremely cold air also moved into eastern Siberia. The temperature in Aldan – a town of just over 20,000 people – fell to -58 degrees (minus -50 degrees Celsius) this weekend. That surpassed the previous record low of minus -55.7 degrees (minus -48.7 degrees Celsius), according to Etienne Kapikiana meteorologist at the French meteorological office, Meteo France.

The icy air is now moving east. It will spread across eastern China, Japan, the Korean Peninsula and parts of eastern Russia on Tuesday and Wednesday. In many of these places it will be the coldest weather of this winter so far.

Temperatures are expected to drop to between 5 and minus -13 degrees (minus -15 to minus -25 degrees Celsius) over East Asia, including the Korean Peninsula. Japan should see temperatures drop to a range of 23 to 5 degrees (min-5 to minus 15 degrees Celsius), and even lower in the mountains.

These predicted values ​​are about 36 degrees (20 degrees Celsius) below normal in East Asia and about 18 degrees (10 degrees Celsius) below normal in Japan.

“Japan will experience a dangerous cold and heavy snow from Tuesday to Thursday,” said Sayaka Mori, a broadcast meteorologist in the country. “There are threats of frozen pipes, slippery roads and traffic disruption across much of the country.”

This extreme cold comes on the heels of the historic cold in Siberia in recent weeks.

Strong high pressure and a skirmish with the polar vortex caused parts of Siberia to sink as low as minus-80.9 degrees (minus -62.7 Celsius) on January 17. It was the coldest temperature in Russia since 2002 and the coldest January since 1982, according to climate expert Thierry Gans.

Siberia is seeing its coldest air in two decades as temperatures plummet to minus -80

While cold air has been mostly trapped in the Siberian region in recent weeks, some has also reached parts of Western and Southern Europe as far as North Africa. There are signs that significant cold air may be moving into North America by the end of the month, where it has missed much of the winter.

Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

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