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What it’s Like to Live in an Extreme Climate

Whether you live in a year-round desert region, a tropical climate, an area known for tornadoes and hurricanes, an unpredictable four-seasons state in the Northeast, or next to piles of snow in the frigid north, you’ve probably experienced fairly extreme weather in your time.

But even legendary blizzards and Texas hail the size of golf balls can’t compare to these extreme weather regions. Read on to learn what it’s like to live in three different areas where the weather is almost too extreme to believe.

Grise Fiord, Canada: Freezing Cold Temperatures

Below soaring cliffs on Ellesmere Island off of Canada, the remote Grise Fiord is one of the northernmost points in the country with an active community, and also one of the coldest spots in the world where humans currently live.

A group of Inuit people was forcibly moved here by Canada’s government in 1953, and now, the population in this freezing cold, remote village hovers around just 129. It’s remote, located over 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Despite the constant sunlight from April 22 to August 20 each year in Grise Fiord, the ocean waters never completely thaw, and they are frozen for nine to ten months every year. The hamlet of Grise Fiord has temperatures that range from -50°C (-58°F) in the winter to (much more rarely) 5°C (41°F) for summer highs.

Local inhabitants often rely on the ringed seal and other marine mammals as major food sources.

Atacama Desert, Chile: Ultra-Dry Weather

The South American country of Chile has one of the world’s driest, currently inhabited places. Less than 0.04 inches of rain falls on the Atacama Desert, situated between the Chilean Coast Mountain Range and the Andes Mountains.

The desert valley here is so dry both because the two towering mountain ranges block rainfall and because the Pacific Anticyclone winds bring streams of dry air into the region. The only drier deserts in the world, in fact, are cold ones (such as the dry, cold desert valleys in Antarctica).

Many people who live in the Atacama Desert survive through copper mining and have to use nets to harvest water from Pacific Ocean fog banks.

Mawsynram, India: Year-Round Rain

Nearly 470 inches of rainfall every year in Mawsynram, India, one of the wettest human-inhabited places in the world. While it’s drier in the months of December and January, the region is usually hit by high volumes of rain throughout the year.

The area’s inhabitants use large collections of umbrellas and overhead handmade grass-woven covers to shield them from the rain in their homes and in the fields where many of them work. There’s an endless supply of water for the region’s many streams, rivers, and roaring waterfalls, and visitors say the sound of pouring rain is nearly constant.

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