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Which Pole is Colder? The North Pole or the South Pole?

Which pole is colder? Have you ever thought of this question? We got this question suddenly today and thought we would share what we found with our readers. Both the poles are freezing cold. But, do you think one pole is colder than the other or that both the poles have the same temperature? Whatever your bets are, the explanation below will prove or disprove you. So, without wasting any further time, let’s begin…

There are two poles – the North Pole and the South Pole. Needless to say, the North Pole is in the northern hemisphere and the South Pole is in the southern hemisphere. The North Pole is also known as Terrestrial North Pole or Geographic North Pole. Similarly, the South Pole is known as Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole.

Everyone knows that poles are super cold but why are they cold in the first place? They are cold because they receive less radiation from the sun than other areas present near the equator or mid-latitudes. The Sun doesn’t rise properly near the poles even in the summer months. It rises till 23.5 degrees above the horizon. Another reason for poles being so cold is that the snow and ice reflect much of the solar radiation because snow and ice are white in color.

north pole - which pole is colder

So, which pole is colder? You may be wondering that when both poles are so similar and there is near to no sunlight which hits the poles, then why will there be any difference? To add to it, both poles get the same amount of sunlight. Then is there any difference at all?

The answer is yes. There is a difference and one pole is colder than the other pole. The South Pole is colder than the North Pole. It is because the North Pole is present in the middle of the Arctic ocean. The surface of the ice that floats on the ocean is just a foot above the sea level. If you compare this to the South Pole, it is situated on a thick ice sheet. This ice sheet is in turn present on the continent, Antarctica. The continent’s surface is nearly a mile and a half or 9,000 feet above sea level. The continent even has mountains. It is common knowledge that the higher we go, the colder it gets.

Another reason is that the Arctic ocean acts as a reservoir of heat. It warms the surrounding atmosphere in the winter months and draws heat from the atmosphere in the summer months. This cannot happen in Antarctica as it is a huge landmass and the heat exchange of the waters of Southern ocean surrounding Antarctica do very little in this regard and hence the South Pole is colder than the North Pole.

The average temperature of the North Pole in summer is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius whereas the average temperature of the South Pole in summer is -18 degrees Fahrenheit or -28.2 degrees Celsius.

The average temperatures in winter of the North Pole and the South Pole are -40 degrees Celsius (same in Fahrenheit) and -76 degrees Fahrenheit or -60 degrees Celsius respectively.

Which Pole is Colder: Some Interesting Facts about the North Pole and the South Pole

south pole - which pole is colder

1. There is absolutely no land in North Pole. From October to March, North Pole experiences complete darkness.

2. Technically speaking, there are two North Poles. One is the North Magnetic Pole and the other is North Terrestrial Pole. North Magnetic Pole changes every day as per the changes that take place beneath the Earth’s crust and North Terrestrial Pole is fixed.

3. The first person to reach the North Pole is Robert Peary. He achieved this feat in 1909.

4. North Pole doesn’t belong to any country. However, many nations have tried to claim it but all of them failed.

5. The depth of the area which has the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean is 13,400 feet. Just for you to know, you need to stack 10 Empire State Buildings one above the other to reach that height.

6. There are few areas in Antarctica that didn’t receive rainfall or snow for over 2 million years!

7. Antarctica is a meteorite magnet. Most of the meteorites are seen in this continent than any other place in the world.

8. 70% of the fresh water of the world is present in Antarctica.

9. It has no official time zone in Antarctica.

10. The first person to be born in Antarctica is Emilio Marcos.


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