Coldest countries in the world 2021

Top 10 Cold Countries in the World

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Want to know which is the coldest country in the world? This post has updated list of the coldest countries in the world ranked by the lowest temperature as well as the yearly average temperature.


How to measure the coldest country in the world


There are two ways to measure which is the coldest country in the world. You can either rank them by using the coldest temperature ever recorded in each country, or you could rank the coldest countries in the world by the average yearly temperature.

Worlds coldest countries

This article features both ways of measuring to give the most accurate information about the world’s coldest countries.

Russia


Russia is the coldest country in the world in terms of the coldest temperature ever recorded. Both Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon in the Sakha Republic have experienced the freezing cold temperature of −67.8 °C (−90.0 °F).

Most of Northern European Russia and Siberia has a subarctic climate, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Siberia (mostly the Sakha Republic, where the Northern Pole of Cold is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C or −96.2 °F), and more moderate winters elsewhere. Both the strip of land along the shore of the Arctic Ocean and the Russian Arctic islands have a polar climate.

Despite the extremely cold temperature, more than 500 people live in Oymyakon and another 1400 people embrace the cold in Verkhoyansk every year.

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −67.8 °C (−90.0 °F)

The Coldest country in the world

Greenland


Greenland is an autonomous country that belongs to the Kingdom of Denmark with self-governance, and the coldest temperature ever recorded on the largest island in the world was −66.1 °C (−87.0 °F) in 1954.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere was recorded in Greenland, near the topographic summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet, on 22 December 1991, when the temperature reached −69.6 °C (−93.3 °F). In Nuuk, the average daily temperature varies over the seasons from −5.1 to 9.9 °C (23 to 50 °F)

As of 2021, some 56,081 people are living in Greenland, and most of them are either Inuit or of Danish descent. On the other side of the temperature, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Greenland was 30.1 °C (86.2 °F).

There are big differences between summer and winter, and for the people living here, it’s important to be prepared for all seasons.

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −66.1 °C (−87.0 °F)

Greenland is the largest island in the world

Canada


Canada is the coldest country in North America with the coldest temperature ever recorded at −63.0 °C (−81.4 °F), in Snag, Yukon in 1947.

While many places in the north of Canada are relatively cold or temperate year-round, there are also places that observe high temperatures during summer.

Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills.

In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).

Some other cold places in Canada where record low temperatures have been observed are Bassano Dam in Alberta (-61.1 °C / -78.0 °F), ( Forth Smith (−59.4 °C / -74.9 °F), Lytton and Lillooet (-58.9 °C / -74.0 °F).

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −63.0 °C (−81.4 °F)

One of the coldest countries in the world


USA

The United States is a massive country with various temperatures depending on the state and time of the year. What’s unique about the U.S is the fact that it ranks as one of the coldest countries in the world and also ranks as one of the hottest countries in the world.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in the USA was −62.2 °C (−80 °F) in Prospect Creek in Alaska.

Some of the coldest states in the U.S are Alaska, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado which ranges between −80 °F / −62 °C to −61 °F / −52 °C on the record low temperatures of each state.

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −62.2 °C (−80 °F)

China


China is one of the coldest countries in the world because of its freezing cold winters in the north. The southern parts are much warmer compared to −58 °C (−72 °F) which is the lowest temperature ever recorded in China.

The record low was observed in Genhe in the autonomous province of Inner Mongolia on 31 December 2009.

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −58 °C (−72 °F)

Winter in China

Mongolia


Mongolia is yet another country that sees large variations in temperatures throughout the year with cold winters and warm summers. The coldest temperature in Mongolia was observed in Züüngovi, Uvs Province back in 1976 in the month of December.

Most of the country is hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, with January averages dropping as low as −30 °C (−22 °F).

The Khangai Mountains play a certain role in forming this microclimate. In Tsetserleg, the warmest town in this microclimate, nighttime January temperatures rarely go under −30 °C (−22 °F) while daytime January temperatures often reach 0 °C (32 °F) to 5 °C (41 °F)

The country is subject to occasional harsh climatic conditions known as zud. Zud, which is a natural disaster unique to Mongolia, results in large proportions of the country’s livestock dying from starvation or freezing temperatures or both, resulting in economic upheaval for the largely pastoral population. The annual average temperature in Ulaanbaatar is −1.3 °C (29.7 °F), making it the world’s coldest capital city.

Winters are typically long and harsh forcing the nomadic tribes to set up camps and stay in the same place for a longer period. The temperature ranges from around -20°C to – 45°C degrees in wintertime.

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −55.3 °C (−67.5 °F)

Winter in Mongolia

Kyrgyzstan


Kyrgyzstan is another Central Asian country with harsh and cold winters. Temperatures as low as -30°C (-22°F) are common in several valleys with snow covering the landscapes and mountain slopes.

The climate varies regionally. The low-lying Fergana Valley in the southwest is subtropical and extremely hot in summer, with temperatures reaching 40 °C (104 °F) The northern foothills are temperate and the Tian Shan varies from dry continental to polar climate, depending on elevation. In the coldest areas temperatures are sub-zero for around 40 days in winter, and even some desert areas experience constant snowfall in this period. In the lowlands the temperature ranges from around −6 °C (21 °F) in January to 24 °C (75 °F) in July

The winter in Kyrgyzstan typically lasts from December to February.

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −53.6 °C (−64.5 °F)

Winter in Kyrgyzstan

Sweden


The northern part of Sweden has a mild summer climate, and very cold winters with snow covering the landscapes for several months. The lowest ever recorded temperature in Sweden reached −53.0 °C (−63.4 °F), in Malgovik in Västerbotten County.

In “Norrland” it’s common with temperatures around -40 degrees Celsius in wintertime. However, temperatures in mid-Sweden and the southern part of the country are usually much lower.

During July there is not much difference in temperature between the north and south of the country. With the exception of in the mountains, the whole country has a July-average temperature within the range of 15 °C (59 °F) to 17.5 °C (63.5 °F) (a difference of 2.5 degrees Celsius), while the January-average temperatures vary from freezing point down to below −15 °C (5 °F) along the border with Finland (a difference of 15 degrees Celsius)

The coldest temperature ever recorded: −53.0 °C (−63.4 °F)

Winter in Sweden

World’s coldest countries by average yearly temperature


This list is based on numbers from the World Bank and their annual temperature data for each country. It’s the latest updated data available and with that information, I’ve ranked the coldest countries in the world by their average yearly temperature.

Svalbard and Jan Mayen are ranked as the coldest place in the world with an average temperature of -9,14 degrees Celsius. There are only four countries in the world that have an average temperature below zero.

Rank Country Average temperature
1 Svalbard and Jan Mayen -9,14
2 Canada -7,14
3 Russia -6,32
4 Mongolia -0,50
5 Norway 0,75
6 Kyrgyzstan 1,09
6 Finland 1.35
7 Iceland 1.35
8 Sweden 1.55
9 Tajikistan 3,03
10 Estonia 5,03
11 Latvia 5,63

More about the coldest countries in the world
The majority of the world’s coldest countries are located in the Northernmost parts of the Earth, but there are also some Central Asian countries as well as North Korea that ranks in the top 10 coldest countries in the world by yearly average.

It’s perhaps not as surprising that most countries are found in the North though, considering that they are so close to the Arctic. Svalbard and Jan Mayen are technically under the sovereignty of Norway, but it’s not part of any Norwegian county.

It has also been given a unique country code “SJM”, which is included separately in the statistics from World Bank. And that is why the area is ranked as the coldest country in the world.

Svalbard is the coldest country in the world by average temperature

The technique of ranking the coldest countries in the world by average temperature is somewhat flawed since many of those countries are some of the largest countries in the world, which means that they also have various climate within their national borders.

However, since the same principles occur in every country with differential temperatures, it’s still an effective way of ranking the coldest countries in the world.

The other way of ranking the coldest country in the world is by taking the coldest temperature ever recorded anywhere within that country and rank by those numbers instead. I prefer a mix of the two to give a nuanced view of the coldest countries in the world.

Coldest place in the world

Is Russia colder than Canada?
Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon are the coldest places on Earth, and while the average temperature year-round is lower in Russia than Canada, there are places in Russia that are colder than Canada, and vice versa.

Is Sweden colder than Canada?
On average, Canada is colder than Sweden and also has the lowest temperature recorded compared to Sweden. Some places in Sweden are colder than some places in Canada, and vice versa.

Is Canada colder than USA
Photo: Lauren Proctor/Shutterstock

Is Canada colder than the USA?
Canada is colder than the U.S on average as well as the lowest temperature of all times. However, some places in the USA, such as Alaska is colder than some places in Canada, such as Toronto to name one such place.

Which country has the lowest temperature in the world?
Russia is the country that has the lowest temperature ever recorded in the world.

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