Antarctica is no doubt the coldest, windiest, and the driest place on Earth.|
Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C, and the lowest temperature ever, -89.6 degrees C, was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983.
Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard, yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion- snow and frost- fall each year.
Trapped in ice, Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. But why?
Why are the Poles Cold?
When we think of the coldest places on Earth, the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it, the north and south poles directly come to our minds.
But why are they cold?
1. Difference in the amount of sunlight
Because the Earth is round, the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions.
The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least.
In the polar regions, the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year).
Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads, the sun that is just above the horizon is cooler.
2. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer
In most places around the world the sun appears daily.
Usually, the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter.
But not here in the polar regions.
As you near the poles, the day and night gets even longer, and the sense of season and "day" is lost.
The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year.
Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer, more are lost in the following 6 months of winter, making the poles the coldest place on earth.
3. The presence of ICE
The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice.
In Antarctica, massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well.
The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat.
Since the ice is tremendously white, instead of absorbing the sun's energy, the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space.
Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it.
When thinking about the global climate, two important factors could never be left out.
They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere, both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface.
The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current.
Without them, the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever.