Why is the South pole colder than the North pole?

The South Pole is colder than the North Pole. Why? let’s read.

  • The geographic South Pole lies on the continent of Antarctica while the geographic North Pole lies on the Arctic Ocean. Antarctica is the continent with the highest average elevation (2,500 meters). As we know temperature drops with the increase in elevation, the South Pole is colder being at a greater height.
  • Arctic ice is thinner and there is warm ocean water beneath. Some of the heat from the water escapes the ice and moderates the atmospheric temperature. At the South pole, there is the land beneath the ice so no such warming takes place.
Why is the South Pole colder than the North Pole?
Penguins in Antarctica
  • The winters at the South Pole occur when the Earth is farthest away from the Sun in its orbit. Hence, the coldest temperatures in Antarctica are lower than the coldest temperatures in the Arctic.

These are the three main reasons why the South pole is colder than the North pole.

The polar regions (North Pole and South Pole) are colder than rest of the world because of 4 reasons –

  • The intensity of Sunlight is lower in the polar regions because of the lower angle of incidence. At the equator, on the contrary, the angle of incidence is much higher.
Why are polar regions colder?
  • The solar radiations have to go through more of the atmosphere before they reach the surface in polar regions. There is more scattering and absorption of radiation by the atmosphere in polar regions than in other regions.
  • The Sun is either very low on the horizon or is below the horizon for the most part of the year in polar regions.
  • The ice present in the polar regions acts as a reflector of sunlight.

Some facts about the Antarctica and the Arctic

  • Antarctica is the driest and windiest continent on Earth.
  • Penguins are found in Antarctica while Polar bears are found in the Arctic.
  • Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent.
  • Antarctica has no permanent human population while the Arctic has an indigenous population.
  • The Arctic is mainly ocean covered with sea ice.
  • Antarctica is the continent with the highest average elevation. The highest peak in Antarctica is Mount Vinson which has an elevation of 4,892 metres.

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