Here a German researcher is fixing an instrument called a pyranometer (in the tube). He is trying to collect weather data while on an Arctic ice floe. A pyranometer measures solar radiation.
Figure from the NSIDC Arctic Climatology and Meteorology Primer
or the Earth's Northern Polar Region is the land and ocean above 66.5 degrees latitude. As you can imagine, being that far north in latitude has certain implications on Arctic weather!
Ok, so you know the Arctic is cold, right? But did you know that minimum temperatures of -90°Fahrenheit (-68° Celsius) can be reached in Greenland and northern Siberia during winter months?
The average Arctic winter temperature is -30° F (-34°C), while the average Arctic summer temperature is 37-54° F (3-12° C). In general, Arctic winters are long and cold while summers are short and cool. Some places in the Arctic are actually warmer then you might expect based on their latitude alone. Land areas near the coast may be warmer because of the warm ocean currents.
Much of the Arctic sky is generally covered with low stratus and stratocumulus clouds. When the area begins to warm up in Spring like in May-June, then cloudiness increases. The least amount of cloud cover is experienced in December-January.
Arctic locations don't receive much precipitation. What they do receive is generally snow during Fall and in Spring. They generally receive less than 10 inches of precipitation a year. This means they can be officially classified as a dessert!
The Arctic can also be windy! With little in the way to slow them, winds can sweep over huge areas of land depositing loads of snow when a landform or obstacle is reached. The summer months in the Arctic are actually the windiest.
Because of the low temperatures in the Arctic, low moisture content is usually found there. The colder the air, the less moisture it can hold. Air over land is significantly colder and dryer then air over the Arctic seas. A typical humidity of air over a land surface might be 50% relative humidity.
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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!
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