According to studies, a cloud caused by a severe storm that formed over the Ocean Pacific in 2018, won the title of the world's coldest after registering temperatures very low. The fog reached minus 111 degrees Celsius, colder than any cloud measured before.

The storm, which started on December 29, happened about 400 km south of Nauru, in the southwest Pacific, and the temperature of its clouds was captured by a sensor infra-red on board the satellite American NOAA-20 orbiting the planet.

Storms captured in infrared by an orbiting satellite. The cold parts of the clouds are purple and the warm Pacific Ocean is orange. (Image credit: National Center for Earth Observation)
Storm captured in infrared by an orbiting satellite. Image: National Center for Earth Observation

According to a statement from the United Kingdom's National Earth Observation Center, tropical storms and cyclones can reach altitudes of up to 11 miles from the ground, or 18 kilometers, where the air is much colder. But the new temperature recorded brings other parameters and has another level, since the 30º C mark has reached colder than the typical storm clouds.

Generally, storms spread in the form of an anvil when it reaches the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere. But if it has a lot of energy, it will reach the next layer, the stratosphere. The phenomenon is known as an “outdated top” and pushes storm clouds to very high altitudes, where the cold is freezing.

The discovery is recent and was originally published in Live Science. However, in recent years, scientists have recorded other clouds with very low temperatures and identified that the phenomenon has become common. With this, they warn of the danger of those who are on the ground.

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"This is important as storms with colder clouds tend to be more extreme and more dangerous for people on the ground due to hail, lightning and wind," said Simon Proud, a researcher at the National Center for Earth Observation and the University of Oxford in an interview with BBC News.

It is believed that the energization of this particular cloud may be the result of a combination of very hot water in the region and wind that moves eastwards. However, it is not yet clear why such cold temperatures in storm clouds are becoming commonplace.

"Now we need to understand whether this increase is due to climate change or whether it is due to a 'perfect storm' of weather conditions that has produced extreme storm outbreaks in recent years," explained the researcher.

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