‘China’s North Pole’ City of Mohe Just Saw Its Lowest Recorded Temperature at 63.4 Degrees Below Zero
When the temperature fell to minus 63.4 degrees Fahrenheit in Mohe — China’s northernmost city — on Sunday, it was the coldest the city had seen in modern times, according to the local weather bureau, reported The Washington Post.
Known as “China’s North Pole,” Mohe is located just below Russian Siberia in northeastern Heilongjiang province and is one of the few places in China with a subarctic climate.
With winters that last from October to May, the nearly 85,000 residents of Mohe are used to the cold, but Sunday’s record temperature was unusually frigid at about 36 degrees Fahrenheit below average. It beat the city’s 1969 record of minus 62.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to experts, such extreme temperatures can make hypothermia and frostbite more likely, and when it gets as cold as minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit, frostbite can happen very quickly, The Independent reported.
“You go from bitterly cold to painfully cold, almost immediately,” said Australian Antarctic Division Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roland Watzl, as reported by The Independent. “It’s painful to even be outside. Anything that is exposed to the wind becomes painful and frostbite develops in 2 to 5 minutes. Just breathing can be painful because you’re breathing really cold air straight into your lungs.”
Temperatures fell below minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit for three days in a row in Mohe beginning on Friday, BBC News reported.
Coal use has also increased with the falling temperatures.
Such severe cold snaps have become more unusual with global warming, but they have clearly not disappeared altogether.
Climate expert Jim Yang tweeted that at least 18 weather stations reported temperature readings of minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit or below in China on Sunday, reported The Washington Post.
Mohe’s consistently cold weather brings tourists to the city’s snow, ice and skiing attractions, which in years past have included winter marathons, BBC News reported.
Mohe County is home to a wide array of animal species.
“Its vast forests are home to bears and wolves, while its subarctic climate means winters can last for up to seven months… That being said, these primitive forests are undeniably picturesque and are rich with rare animal species like sika deer, wild boar, snow hares, red deer, pheasants, sables, and reindeer,” said the China & Asia Cultural Travel website.
Mohe is also the only place in China where you can view the Northern Lights, according to China Travel. China’s recent cold spell stands in stark contrast to its most severe heat wave, which lasted from June through August of last year.
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