The cold weather in Ladakh is famous for being harsh, however, the epitome of cold are the two ends of the world. The polar bears in the Arctic or penguins in the Antarctic literally live in a huge freezer. But which is colder, the South or the North pole? Let’s find out.
Cold, icy, north pole. That’s probably why Santa Claus lives there. But is the North Pole the coldest place in the world? What about his eternal rival in the eternal ice, the South Pole?
The answer is that the South Pole is much colder than the North Pole. At the north pole, the annual average is minus 15 to minus 20 degrees, at the south pole it is even about 20 degrees colder. It is due to the different altitudes and the climatic environment at the North and South poles.
The North Pole is at sea level in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, while the South Pole is around 3,000 meters high on the ice sheet over the Antarctic continent. This attitude drives the temperatures in the South Pole region to the most extreme values on our planet. The coldest temperature ever recorded at the south pole is minus 89.2 degrees Celsius, measured in 1983 at the Soviet South Pole research station Wostok.
The Arctic Ocean Looks Like a Giant Hot Water Bottle
Yet another aspect makes the South Pole region the record holder when it comes to frost. The glaciers lie here on the mainland of the Antarctic, while the ice at the North Pole floats on the water. The comparatively warm water, therefore, is washed in and around the extreme north. The Arctic Ocean looks like a gigantic hot water bottle for the North Pole.
Occasionally, milder air masses from more southern regions prevail here. In summer, the values even temporarily rise above freezing. In addition, the North Atlantic current running out in the high northern latitudes of the Atlantic still supplies heat. The average ice floe at the North Pole, therefore, measures just three meters.
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In the South Pole region, the ice sheet is miles thick. Milder air masses from lower latitudes practically never make it to the South Pole. This makes the south pole the coldest place on earth.