Arctic vs Antarctic 🇦🇶
Arctic vs Antarctic Comparison List
Compare the Arctic vs Antarctic which are literally poles apart. Ice cold data, facts and figures about both areas. Did you know the Arctic is home to the biggest desert on Earth? It’s an ICE desert with an average ice thickness of over 2 km. Although that isn’t a typical desert it does fulfill the official requirement which describes a desert as “any area with less than 5% covered by vegetation”.
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|Location||Located around the North Pole, bordering on Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Finland and Russia. It is not a continent which constitutes its (major difference to Antarctica. It extends up to 60° degrees north.||Antarctica is a continent located around the South Pole. It extends up to 50° degrees south and is surrounded by the Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean which was first created in 2000 by the International Hydrographic Organization.|
|Discovery||Possibly by Phoenician sailors around 320 BC. More reliably, the Viking sailor Gardar Svavarsson was the first person to sight Iceland.||Not discovered until 1820 by Captain Fabian von Bellingshausen under the Russian flag. However, there is some dispute as to whether others found it before him.|
|First to reach Poles||American explorer Robert Edwin Peary on 6 Apr 1909. This record is still controversial until today because Frederick Cook claimed to have been at the North Pole one year earlier.||In a race between Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen, Scott set off on 24 Oct 1911 (four days before Amundsen), but his route was about 37 miles (60 km) longer than the Norwegian’s, who eventually won the race and reached the South Pole on 14 Dec 1911. The Briton, Scott, also got there (with 4 companions) on January 17, 1912 but they died of exhaustion on the way back just a few miles from their base camp.|
|Origin of Name||Named after the polar star arktos (“land of the big bear” in Greek). Being circumpolar it never disappears below the horizon. A fitting name because this is where polar bears are found.||Because of its location it was simply named Antarctica meaning “the opposite of the Arctic”.|
|Size||Land and sea area about 10.4 million sq. miles (27 million km2).||About 5.4 million sq. miles (14 million km2).|
|Lowest temperatures||In mid-February , temperatures in Greenland fall as low as -50°C.||Coldest place in the world: -93.2 degrees (measured at Dome Argus, Antarctica). Generally in winter as low as -70°C. On average, it is 22°C colder than the Arctic.|
|Highest temperatures||Never warmer than 10°C.||Max. -20°C in summer.|
|Ice coverage||Ca. 7.5 million sq. miles (19.5 m. km2). This was a new record in 2013. Icebergs drift at a speed of about 7.5 miles (12 km) a day and can have an area of up to 70 square miles (180 km2).||Average sea ice of about 5.7 million sq. miles (14.8 m. km2). The ice is up to 15,000 feet (4600 m) thick in places. About 75% of all freshwater reserves are frozen in the ice sheet.|
|Sunshine||Virtually no sun for 182 days a year.||6 months of daylight in summer and 6 months of darkness in winter.|
|Typical animals in Arctic vs Antarctic||Polar bears.||No land animals live in Antarctica but the surrounding seas have seal species such as Weddell, leopard, ross, crabeater, elephant and the Antarctic fur sea, penguin species like adelie, emperor and chinstrap and orcas (killer whales) and blue whales.|
|Flora||Mainly tundra and flowering plants.||Virtually no vegetation apart from lichens.|
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- ADDucation’s arctic vs antarctic table was compiled by A C, last updated 17 Apr 2020.
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