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Name:  zuni
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993


Question:
I read that Antarctica had the coldest temperature on record. I was wondering why it was Antarctica and not the North Pole? Because they are both the same distance from the equator. Thanks for your help.



Replies:
Aaron, this is an interesting question, and I am afraid I do not have a good answer for it. Maybe it has something to do with how easy or hard it is to monitor temperatures in the two places. In other words, maybe there is a problem with getting to the cold places in the North Pole but not at the South Pole. It would be interesting to try and find out more information, like what is the average temperature at the North Pole? What is the average temperature at the South Pole? What is the lowest temperature ever recorded at the North Pole? And so forth. Finding out this information might help you understand the situation better.

Robert Topper


According to some books I consulted (e.g., "The Ends of the Earth" by Isaac Asimov), it does get much colder in Antarctica than in the Arctic regions. Asimov quotes a record cold temperature of -127 degrees Fahrenheit measured at the Soviet station Vostok in 1960. (My World Almanac lists -128.6, again at Vostok, in 1983.) Here are some reasons it gets so much colder there. Antarctica is actually a continent, of much larger extent than the ice sheets of the Arctic. Its interior is more isolated from the ocean waters (which moderate temperatures). Antarctica has the highest average altitude of the continents, much of it high plateau or mountainous; its thin, dry air allows intense cooling during the long winter.

Ronald Winther



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