Climate and Weather


Which is colder—the North Pole or the South Pole?

The South Pole is considerably colder than the North Pole. The average temperature at the South Pole is –56°F (–49°C), which is approximately 35° lower than the average temperature at the North Pole. The North Pole is surrounded by an ocean. The water of the ocean retains heat so temperatures at the North Pole are warmer than in the South Pole. The South Pole is located on the continent of Antarctica, which is a large snow- and ice-covered landmass surrounded by ocean. In addition, the elevation of the South Pole is 9,300 feet (2,900 meters), while the North Pole is at sea level, resulting in colder temperatures at the South Pole. Finally, the combination of snow, ice, and extremely dry air reflects nearly 75 percent of the incoming solar radiation. Any heat that is radiated back to the atmosphere is lost instead of being absorbed by water vapor in the atmosphere.


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