Why is Antarctica the coldest continent?

Posted on Jan 12, 2021      223

The coldest areas on Earth are the poles. The Earth’s poles are cold because the sun’s rays do not strike the Earth obliquely. And the sun’s rays warm the more steeply they hit the Earth. At the poles, the sun’s rays kind of slide over the Earth, so they don’t warm.

Is it colder at the North Pole (Arctic) or the South Pole (Antarctica)? The first thing that comes to mind is that it is colder in the north. And that’s wrong! The lowest temperature recorded on our planet was recorded at Vostok station near the South Geomagnetic Pole and was -86.9 ° C. The average temperature of the southern continent is -49°С, which is the coldest climate on Earth. In the Arctic, the average winter temperature is only close to -34°C, and it is even warmer in summer.

This is because the Arctic is only the frozen cover of the ocean, and Antarctica is a vast continent. In terms of area Antarctica covers about 14 million km2, which is almost twice the area of Australia, and one and a half times the area of Europe! Therefore, the climate in the southern polar circle is more severe than in the Arctic. In addition, Antarctica is entirely covered with ice, and ice reflects 95% of the solar radiation. Finally, Antarctica’s cold climate is caused by an area of high atmospheric pressure with downward air currents that do not form clouds. This is also the reason Antarctica has no precipitation.

Antarctica is so cold that snow in some parts of the continent never melts. This continent contains almost 90% of the world’s reserves of ice, which contains about ¾ of our planet’s fresh water.

Did you know that...

Antarctica is the only continent that belongs to no one but is a continent of international cooperation. The real masters of the continent are scientists from different parts of the world. Antarctica has no history of indigenous people and is under the jurisdiction of the Antarctic Treaty, which requires that the land and resources be protected and used only for peaceful and scientific purposes.