25 Coldest Countries in the World

·13 min read

In this article, we discuss the 25 coldest countries in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the climate classification system, and go directly to the 5 Coldest Countries in the World.

Countries that are located at or closer to either of the two poles experience colder climates than countries that are farther. There are 5 primary types of climate according to the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system: tropical, dry, temperate, continental, and polar climates.

As discussed elsewhere, tropical and dry climates are relatively hotter throughout the year, with the latter experiencing only a short-lasting mild winter. Temperate climates, on the other hand, are moderate. These climates allow for mild to warm summers and mild to cold winters.

When it comes to continental climates, you have mild summers and very cold winters, particularly in its subarctic type. Continental climates are found in the Northern Hemisphere. As for the polar climates along with the alpine climate, it is cold throughout the year and the temperature usually does not exceed 50℉ any time of the year. There are two sub-types of the polar climate: namely, the Tundra Climate and the Ice Cap Climate.

Tundra climate is characterized by long and cold winters and temperatures may stay at subfreezing levels i.e below 32°F, for more than half of the year, especially in the zone north of the Arctic Circle where the sun does not even rise for at least 1 day in a year. Ice Cap climate, on the other hand, is characterized by no month of the year with a temperature above 32°F. The Tundra climate is so harsh that only specialized plants can grow in this climate. The regions with Ice Cap climates, as the name implies, remain covered in Ice Caps.

However, climate change is altering climatic conditions around the world with some interesting and alarming implications for the colder regions. According to UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, climate change has caused a 3℃ rise in temperature in the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland over the last 50 years. The report also reveals that the rise in temperature in these regions is 10 times faster than the global average.

The melting polar ice caps add to the rising sea levels. This, in turn, results in coastal erosion. The air and sea temperatures are already rising due to the absorption of more and more heat from the atmosphere. All these factors consequently come together to contribute to more frequent storms like Hurricanes and Typhoons. However, the sea level rise due to polar ice cap melting remains the single most important factor. These storms create much bigger problems for low elevation islands located far from the sea.

An even bigger threat from the melting ice sheets is perhaps the unknown and potentially dangerous pathogens lying dormant and frozen in the ice. According to a paper published in the journal of Environmental Sustainability, 4 × 10^21 frozen pathogens are being released into the environment annually due to the melting permafrost.

The paper concludes that there is a serious risk of release of potentially dangerous viruses frozen for thousands of years in these ice sheets leading to global pandemics and even endemics. Regions with the polar ice cap climate are at the forefront of this threat. However, aside from a very narrow range of Fauna, these regions are uninhabited but pathogens can be carried by water to the sea and could become a global problem.

Many steps are being taken to limit carbon emissions to slow down climate change. The legally binding Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 to keep the mean rise in global temperature below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels and to make efforts to take the mean rise below 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels. 191 countries are party to the Agreement as of 2021. Apart from world governments, private corporations are also playing their part in the transition to clean energy. For instance, companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) are playing their part in the transition.

As for the inhabited cold regions with continental and Tundra climates, the problems of global warming are related more to the disturbance of the ecosystem due to gradual rise in temperatures. Most countries in our list of the 25 coldest countries in the world had lower mean annual temperatures from the years 1901 to 2016 according to the World Bank report. However, the average has risen for the years 1991 through 2020. Countries in these climates experience very cold climates and the objective of this article is to list the 25 coldest countries in the world.

25 Coldest Countries in the World
25 Coldest Countries in the World

Copyright: serrnovik / 123RF Stock Photo

Our Methodology

For our list of the 25 coldest countries in the world, we’d be defining the coldest countries in the world as those which have the coldest annual average temperatures in Fahrenheit. We’d be using data from the World Bank for this purpose. There are two sets of data based on different number of years. We'd be using the mean results based on data of years from 1991-2020.

In order to verify the data for yourself, please visit the World Bank link provided here and then click on 'Country'. On the page that opens up, click 'view by list' and then select the alphabet with which the name of the country starts. This will show all the countries whose names start with that alphabet. From there, just select the country you want to see the results for. In the individual country's profile, you need to click on the 'Climate Data' category and then 'historical' subcategory to get your results. Bear in mind however that World Bank temperatures are shown in Celsius but we have converted the results to Fahrenheit for readers' convenience.

With this context in mind, let’s now proceed to our list of the 25 coldest countries in the world.

25 Coldest Countries in the World

25. Ukraine

Mean Annual Temperature: 48.6°F

Ukraine is an Eastern European country that is characterized by a continental climate with mildly warm summers and snowy and cold winters. The northeast part of the country experiences the coldest of winters. The temperature is usually subfreezing in winters in inland zones.

24. Poland

Mean Annual Temperature: 47.9°F

Poland is a Central European country that is characterized by a continental climate with mildly warm summers but very cold winters. Winters in Poland often result in subfreezing temperatures especially in the months of December and January.

23. Denmark

Mean Annual Temperature: 47.7°F

Denmark is a Nordic country that is characterized by a temperate climate with an oceanic hint. Summers are mild and winters are cold but not as severe as one might expect due to the influence of the ocean. In January, the temperature gets as low as 34°F.

There’s significant awareness in Danish people regarding the urgency to transition to clean energy and consequently, companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) are significantly popular in the country.

22. The Czech Republic

Mean Annual Temperature: 47.6°F

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country and another Central European country to make it to the list of 25 coldest countries in the world. It is characterized by a temperate climate with mildly warm summers and cold and snowy winters. The climate is between the transition zone between oceanic and continental climate. The temperature in winter gets as low as 22°F in the month of January and winter lasts from November through March.

21. Slovakia

Mean Annual Temperature: 47°F

Slovakia is yet another landlocked country in Central Europe to make it to the list of 25 coldest countries in the World. It is characterized by a continental climate especially in the Eastern part of the country. The summers are mild but the winters can be very cold and snowy. Temperatures reach subfreezing thresholds in the winter months like January.

20. Georgia

Mean Annual Temperature: 45.8°F

Georgia (not to be confused with the US state) is a country that lies between Asia and Europe. Georgia generally has a continental climate but experiences localized alpine climates in the eastern and western regions. Primarily, the country experiences mild summers and very cold winters while alpine climates on the east and west keep those regions generally cold year-round.

19. Belarus

Mean Annual Temperature: 45.5°F

Belarus has a moderate continental climate with moderately cold winters and mild summers.

18. Lithuania

Mean Annual Temperature: 45.3°F

Lithuania is located in the Baltic region of Europe and lies in the humid continental climate zone. The four seasons are highly pronounced but with moderate to severely cold winters.

17. Austria

Mean Annual Temperature: 45°F

Austria is a European country that lies in the temperate climate zone. It experiences mild to hot summers and mild to cold winters.

16. Armenia

Mean Annual Temperature: 44.8°F

Armenia is located in the Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. It is characterized by a continental climate with mild summers and disproportionately cold winters. Cold air from the north enters the country in the winter and tends to get trapped in the valleys causing intense frosts.

15. China

Mean Annual Temperature: 44.7°F

China is one of the largest countries in Asia. Being a country of enormous land size, China comes with a set of different climates. However, the Northern, North-Western and Western region of the country has a continental climate with very harsh winters and mild summers. The temperature in the North remains sub-freezing during peak winter months.

As temperatures get harsher around the world, the demand of products and services of energy companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) is increasing.

14. Kazakhstan

Mean Annual Temperature: 44.4°F

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country. It is located in Central Asia. Kazakhstan is characterized by a continental climate and so consequently, has a mild summer but a very cold winter that brings subfreezing temperatures in the months of December and January.

13. Latvia

Mean Annual Temperature: 44.3°F

Latvia is a country located in Northern Europe on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. The country experiences a continental climate typical for most of Europe with mild but pronounced summers but very cold and snowy winters. However, coastal areas experience temperate to oceanic climates with both mild summers and winters. The temperature in winters in Latvia during the months of January and February reaches as low as 24°F.

As temperatures get harsher around the world, the demand of products and services of energy companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) is increasing.

12. Liechtenstein

Mean Annual Temperature: 44°F

Liechtenstein is a country between Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein has a continental climate in the plains and an alpine climate in the mountainous region.

11. Estonia

Mean Annual Temperature: 43.3°F

Estonia is located in Northern Europe. Estonia lies in the transition zone between Continental and Oceanic climates. Consequently, it is a little less cold for its location in the north due to Oceanic influences but still gets significantly colder in winters. Its coldest month happens to be February with temperatures falling as low as 22°F.

As temperatures get harsher around the world, the demand of products and services of energy companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) is increasing.

10. Switzerland

Mean Annual Temperature: 42.9°F

Switzerland is a Central European country known for its beautiful mountain ranges that are characterized by the Polar Tundra climate. The southern part of the country experiences hints of Mediterranean climate. Generally, however, Switzerland has a temperate climate. The temperature in winters gets as low as 28°F.

As temperatures get harsher around the world, the demand of products and services of energy companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) is increasing.

9. Tajikistan

Mean Annual Temperature: 38.7°F

Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia. Tajikistan's climate is characterized by a Continental climate with arid characteristics. Due to arid characteristics, summers are unusually hot but winters are more severe due to the continental aspect of the climate.

As temperatures get harsher around the world, the demand of products and services of energy companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) is increasing.

8. Sweden

Mean Annual Temperature: 36.7°F

Sweden is located in Europe's Nordic region. Sweden is known for its long, harsh, and numbing winters. The country is part of the Arctic Circle. The winters often cause the temperature to remain subfreezing, going as low as -22°F.

Due to the implementation of the Nordic Model in the country, Swedes are playing their part in the transition to sustainable energy. So companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) are significantly popular in Sweden.

7. Finland

Mean Annual Temperature: 36.5°F

Finland is another Nordic country to make it to the list of 25 coldest countries on Earth. Finland is characterized by a Subarctic climate. The country experiences very brief and mild summers but long and severe winters with subfreezing temperatures. The temperature in the winter goes as low on average as -4°F particularly due to cold air masses arriving from Russia.

The people of Finland are climate-conscious and clean energy solution providers like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) are gaining popularity in the country.

6. Iceland

Mean Annual Temperature: 36.1°F

Iceland is another Nordic country to make it to the list of 25 coldest countries on the planet. Iceland is characterized by a Polar Tundra climate and consequently, remains cold throughout the year. Temperatures in summer are as low as 50°F which fall even lower in winters, reaching as low as 37°F on average in January.

Companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) are gaining popularity in the country owing to the need for transition to clean energy.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Coldest Countries in the World.

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Disclosure: None. 25 Coldest Countries in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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