Why is the North pole warmer than the South

Nature 13/02/20 Why is the North pole warmer than the South

In childhood I’m sure many were convinced that the North pole is the region of eternal ice and cold, and South is the place where the sun always shines and grow bananas. With age, we learn that things are different, and acquaintance with the geography and the basics of astronomy allows us to understand that this situation is logical — at the poles must be cold. But why the South is colder than the North?


here’s some data confirming the truth in the title of the article the fact.

the Average annual temperature at the South Pole: – 58 °C

the Average temperature at the North Pole: – 34 °C

the lowest temperature at the South Pole: -82 °C

the lowest temperature at the North Pole: – 46 °C

the highest temperature at the South Pole: – 13 °C

the highest temperature at the North Pole: + 3 °C

however consider, at the South Pole is always colder than the North. And now to the reasons.


the South pole is located in the centre of the ice continent — Antarctica. In fact, it is a great lithospheric plate, covered with a thick layer of everlasting ice. The heat here is simply nowhere to take. The ice itself is a very poor conductor of heat. Especially because most of the solar radiation reflected snow-white caps of the mainland.

the North pole is in the Arctic ocean. The place is rough, but covered with ice not completely and not all year round. Huge masses of water are batteries and transmitter of heat from the continents that they wash.

Salt water very well capable to accumulate heat that she was the natural movement of water masses brings to the North. This, in turn, leads to melting and cracking ice, which the heat of the water is released into the atmosphere, warming it.

Warms current

plays a significant role the Gulf stream, which carries water from the Equatorial zone of the Atlantic ocean in the North Pole. This flow works as a huge pump, pumping warm water into the cold pool of the Arctic ocean. And let delivered volume of water is small in comparison with cold water masses at the South Pole there is no such. Warm currents off the coast of Antarctica do not exist.

the Height above sea level

As you know, the rarefied atmosphere leads to the fact that with altitude the temperature falls. It is imperceptible at differences up to 1000 m, but becomes greater with increasing altitude. Since the pole is simply a point on the surface, in the case of the North Pole point is located at the level of the Arctic ocean. Place the South Pole, polar plateau of Antarctica, with a height of 2500-3000 m. According to conservative estimates, this gives the difference in the 15-18 °C compared to the temperature at sea level.

Certain (although less significant) role is also played by the astronomical features of the earth’s orbit. It is not perfectly round and elongated — in the shape of an ellipse. Winter in the southern hemisphere occurs when the Earth is farthest from the Sun, and therefore heat it during this period gets a little less.

Yaroslav Gorbunov

© Russian Seven

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