Everyone knows that the two north poles of the Earth are very cold places, even in the face of global warming. Periods cooler than minus 40 degrees Celsius are not uncommon in these regions. But are they equally frozen, or is one colder than the other?
The North Pole and Antarctica are the coldest places on Earth. As similar as these areas may seem, one is much cooler than the other.
Both the north and south poles are cold because they do not receive direct light from the sun due to their location at the top and bottom of the planet. In both places, the sun always stays low on the horizon, even in the middle of summer. In winter, the sun is so deep below the horizon that it doesn’t even shine for months.
In addition, the white surface of ice and snow is strongly reflected at the poles. This means that much of the energy of sunlight coming on them is reflected back into space, so the air above the surface stays relatively cool.
Although it is visibly cold at both angles due to these factors, the South Pole is still colder than the North Pole, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The average annual temperature in the Arctic is -40 ° C in winter and 0 ° in summer. In contrast, Antarctic average temperatures are cooler, with annual average temperatures of -60°C in winter and minus 28.2°C in summer.
The main reason why the North Pole is colder than the North Pole lies in the main difference between the two. “The Arctic is an ocean and Antarctica is a continent,” Robin Bell, a polar researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Institute for Earth Observation at Columbia University in New York, told Live Science.
The North Pole is an ocean surrounded by Earth. Antarctica is a landlocked region. Water cools more slowly and warms more slowly than land, resulting in lower temperature extremes. Even when the Arctic Ocean is covered in ice, the temperature of the relatively warm water has a mitigating effect on the climate there, helping to keep the Arctic Ocean warmer than the surface of Antarctica.
Additionally, while the North Pole lies at sea level, Antarctica is the highest continent, with an average elevation of about 2,300 metres. And the higher we go, the colder it gets.
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