Temperatures around the Duluth – Superior area this morning were between -15 and -30 Fahrenheit before wind chill was factored in. In America’s icebox, places like Embarass and International Falls saw temperatures below -40 before factoring any wind chill. These temperatures have been colder than places in the Arctic Circle lately, but it turns out there is another shocking fact about this frigid cold.
Yahoo!’s Geekquinox contributor Scott Sutherland [via Smithsonian.com] reports this cold snap is giving us temperatures colder than that seen on the surface of Mars. Temperatures on Mars run significantly colder than temperatures on Earth for a few reasons. First, Earth is closer to the Sun by (on average) 140 million miles. Second, Mars doesn’t have a nice atmosphere to hold in heat from the Sun like we have here. The Martian atmosphere is about 100 times thinner than Earth’s, so no nice blanket to keep th little green men warm.
So, how much colder is it here than on Mars?
According to the data from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, the average reported high temperature over the past month has been between -13 and -24 Fahrenheit at its location. This matches temperatures around the Twin Ports many mornings over the past month. Places like Embarass, International Falls, Tower, and the like have seen morning temperatures well below that, reaching near -50 many mornings over the past month, including -45 this morning.
Impressive, right? Well, it could be worse. The rover is at a latitude similar to that of Venezuela on Earth, relatively near the Martian equator. The overall average surface temperature is -80 degrees F, with extremes as warm as 70 degrees F near the equator and as cold as -100 degrees F at the same latitude. At the Martian poles, it gets as cold as -195 F in the winter. [via Space.com]