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A computer drawing of Antarctica. The Catabatic winds are shown at the top of the drawing.
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Found in Wikipedia Commons - Source is Hannes Grobe at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany

Antarctic Weather

Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. It is even colder than the Arctic! Temperatures as low as -129 degrees F (-89 degrees C) have been recorded. Near the South Pole, the average temperature is only -58 degrees F (-50 degrees C). Not really swimsuit weather is it?

One of the reasons that Antarctica is so cold is that in winter (March 22 throughout September 22) the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all! So the whole continent stays dark! That makes for a long, cold winter.

Antarctica has also been called the windiest continent on Earth! The wind can be very strong. At Cape Dennison in Antarctica, the average windspeed is more than 50 mph, and winds have been as high as 200 mph.

Antarctica is covered with ice and snow. But not a lot of ice and snow fall each year. What is there just stays there - it doesn't melt. Antarctica actually gets less snow in a year then many deserts get rain.

What does all this mean for us? It means that Antarctica is one of the hardest places on Earth for humans to live. Exploring and studying the continent has been hard too.

Last modified July 9, 2007 by Jennifer Bergman.

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