Russia’s winters have stopped invading armies. Rather than entering into peace negotiation with Napoleon Bonaparte, who had already conquered most of Europe by 1812, Tsar Alexander decided to let Russia’s grim climate handle the French invaders. Summers in the Russian tundra are brief. Snow and rain visit this vast stretch of land at least eight months throughout the year. In 1974, a record temperature of 96 degrees below zero Fahrenheit was recorded in northeast Siberia. Russia is the coldest country in the world.
The “Canadian Encyclopedia” describes southern Canada as “the battle zone between cold air from Arctic regions and warm, moist air from the south.” From its southern border, it stretches all the up to the 83rd parallel, less than 500 miles below the North Pole. January temps for the second-largest country in the world average a teeth-rattling 18.58 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and this makes Canada the second-coldest country.
Although far below the Arctic Circle, Mongolia’s high altitude, some 4,900 feet above sea level, and arid desert climate bring cool summers and bitterly cold winters. Slightly smaller than Alaska, land-locked Mongolia is located between Russia and China. In the summer, the mercury rarely rises to about 63 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter temps can dip well below 23 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Mongolia’s winter season begins in November and lasts through the end of April.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Finland was a bone-chilling 60.7 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The fourth coldest country in the world, it is wedged between Russia, Sweden and Norway. Slightly smaller than Montana, the influence of the Atlantic current and Baltic Sea moderates its climate, giving it a year-round average of 41 degrees Fahrenheit and summer days that can raise the mercury to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite its mild summers, Finland has measurable frost 137 days of the year.
A hair’s breadth below the Arctic Circle, Iceland is a geographical oddity. Volcanic activity and the Gulf Stream make this roughly 40,000-square-mile nation warmer than many places at this latitude. But the Gulf Stream’s warm water clashing with the Arctic air also causes the weather to be unpredictable. With average winter temperatures at around freezing and an average year-round temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit, this fjord-ringed island is the fifth coldest nation in the world.