Arctic and Antarctic share significant differences. But do you know them?

The name Arctic comes from the ancient Greek "árktos" meaning "bear" and refers to the constellations of the ursa major and minor located near the celestial North Pole whereas Antarctica means "opposite to the Arctic", in Greek.

These two places, located from one end of the planet to the other, differ both in their fauna, temperatures and geological differences.

The Arctic, located around the North Pole, consists only of ice pack and is relatively close to various countries. In contrast, the Antarctic, located in the Southern Hemisphere, is relatively far from other countries. That’s why this land was discovered much later! Antarctica is in fact a continent in its own because under its ice (which covers 98% of its territory) lies a crust made up of volcanoes and mountains.

In the Arctic, the wildlife is rather developed with different species present on its territory with notably polar foxes, reindeers, walruses or polar bears.

On the other hand, in Antarctica, there is a low diversity of fauna. This is because this land, far from any other country, has not been able to be colonized by new species. However, some species live there in colonies, such as emperor penguins.

Being located from one pole to the other of the planet means that when it’s winter in one hemisphere, it’s summer for the other pole. Whether in the Arctic or the Antarctic, winter temperatures are rather extreme. However, it’s in Antarctica that the coldest temperatures have been recorded, around -20°C on average. And down to -55°C at the Vostok research station located at an altitude of 3500 metres. This is due to a combination of different factors: altitude, low sunshine or the presence of an icy ocean current. In the Arctic, on the other hand, the annual average is around -10°C because the annual amplitudes (differences between summer and winter temperatures) are significant.

As for the settlement of the poles, the history of the colonization of these two places has a role to play! Indeed, the Arctic is a more populated territory than the Antarctic because it was discovered a long time ago! Some native population has settled there and has managed to brave the difficult climatic conditions to live there whereas in Antarctica, there are only scientific bases because it was only colonized in 1819!

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