A friend who is planning on moving to Ottawa, Canada asked me which capital city was the coldest in the world because he thought surely, it must be Ottawa. I did not agree with him (I was thinking Moscow or Helsinki) but I thought that it would be fun to research this answer.
So, I searched WorldClimate.com for capital cities in higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (because no capital cities are far south enough to be cold, when compared to the continental climates of the Northern Hemisphere). I used the annual mean of the daily (24 hour) temperature for each capital city on the site to compare coldest capital cities.
The results were interesting! The coldest capital city in the world is not in Canada or in Northern Europe but in Mongolia; it's Ulaan-baatar, with an average annual chilly temperature of 29.7°F and -1.3°C. My friend will be gratified to know that Ottawa (with an average of 41.9°F/5.5°C) isn't even in the top five! It's likely number seven. Good data for the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, just doesn't exist, but it would appear from nearby climate data and other sources of information that Astana falls between number one Ulaan-baatar and number three Moscow. Here's the list...
- Ulaan-Baatar (Mongolia) 29.7°F/-1.3°C
- Astana (Kazakhstan) unavailable
- Moscow (Russia) 39.4°F/4.1°C
- Helsinki (Finland) 40.1°F/4.5°C
- Reykjavik (Iceland) 40.3°F/4.6°C
- Tallin (Estonia) 40.6°F/4.8°C
- Ottawa (Canada) 41.9°F/5.5°C