Antarctica-Cruises.Org - Climate & Clothes
Antarctica Climate and Weather
The open air temperature on Antarctica has been registered as the coldest on Earth. On 21 July 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station a temperature of - 89.2 °C
(−128.6 °F) was recorded.
Winter: from between - 80 °C (−112 °F) and −90 °C (−130 °F) in the interior.
Summer: from between 5 °C (41 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) near the coast.
The warmest temperature recorded, to date, was at Vanda Station at +15°C (+59°F) on January 5, 1974.
The eastern region of the continent is generally colder than the western region because it has a higher altitude.
What Makes and Keeps Antarctica Cold?
· Although the continent is surrounded by an ocean, it is so vast in size that the moderating influence of the water does not penetrate into the interior.
· The white-colored snow and ice covering 98% of its surface reflects sunlight back into space light rather than absorbing it.
· There is too little moisture in the incredibly dry air to absorb any heat that may be radiated back into the atmosphere.
· During the winter months the sea around the continent freezes, which prevents any heat transfer from the slightly warmer sea water to the land.
· During six months of the year the sun does not rise above the horizon, ensuring a permanent state of coldness.
· The vast geographical area is, on average, at a higher altitude than any other land mass on Earth resulting in colder temperatures.
On the coast, where there is precipitation, it is not uncommon for there to be significant snow falls. Also on the coast there can be strong winds (that have been measured up to 320 km per hour), called the Katabatic winds, that blow down from the polar plateau towards the warmer sea making Antarctica the windiest continent on Earth.
Essential Clothes to Take
Because of temperature variables, it is best to bring layers of light, warm clothing to take off and put on as required.
Outdoor, waterproof, warm hiking boots
Thermal underwear, including sweatshirts and turtle-neck shirts
Fleece jacket and trousers (outdoor pants)
Waterproof and windproof, hooded parka
Insulated, waterproof trousers (pants)
Thermal gloves or mittens
Polar cap, hat or balaclava hood
Swimsuit (for possible dips in thermal hot-spring pools)
Comfortable, sport clothes for on board ship
Comfortable rubber-soled shoes for on board ship
Other Items to Take
Sunglasses, ideally with side flaps (good quality with UV solar filter)
Binoculars (7 x or 8 x 30 magnification)
Digital Camera with zoom lens (to get close-up wildlife shots)
Backpack (to carry things during shore excursions)
Any personal medications