Understanding Earth’s extreme climates – Antarctica

If you are considering exploring some of the Earth’s most beautiful, yet remote places, it is important to understand just what is in store for you once you get there. One of the most vital elements to consider is the climate and for those wanting to explore the stunning continent of Antarctica, the weather really does play an important part.

Antarctic holidays are becoming increasingly popular with those looking to try something different on their next break. As the coldest of the Earth’s continents, the area has witnessed the lowest natural temperature ever recorded, -89.2°C. If you are currently planning a trip to Antarctica, here are the key points that you need to know about the often extreme climate.

The continent itself is basically a frozen desert, offering very little precipitation, with less than 10cm of rain recorded at the South Pole per year. Once you reach Antarctica, the atmosphere can be a little daunting to first time visitors, with prolonged periods of constant darkness contrasted with similar length periods of constant sunshine. It is no surprise that visitors to the area claim that they are often confused as to what time it actually is!

One important thing to consider for your trip is the risk of sunburn. This may seem unlikely in Antarctica of all places, but the snow surface is prone to reflecting all of the ultraviolet light that falls upon it, something that you should bear in mind when packing your essentials. Temperatures in Antarctica tend to reach a minimum of −80 °C during the winter and a maximum of 15 °C in the coastal areas during the summer months.

The exact time of year when you are on the continent will dictate the conditions that you experience, the eastern side of Antarctica typically being colder than the west due to the higher elevations. The centre of the continent is cold and dry, due to the main extreme weather fronts not spreading into this area. By contrast, the outer edges of Antarctica are prone to strong winds that often blow at storm force.

If you are planning a trip to Antarctica, we highly recommend that you choose an experienced tour company to help guide you around these often unpredictable landscapes. Here at WILDFOOT, we work with the leading operators to create for you the true holiday of a lifetime in this most extreme and remote corner of the globe.