What Is The Difference Between The Arctic And Antarctic?

Antarctica and the Arctic both have cold climates; however, they differ in many aspects. So what’s the difference between them? Let’s find out.
What Is The Difference Between The Arctic And Antarctic?
What Is The Difference Between The Arctic And Antarctic?

Antarctica and the Arctic are two regions of Earth that share similar climates. Antarctica and the Arctic both have a freezing cold climate, however, they differ in their geographical location. 

Antarctica is located south of the equator, while the Arctic is located north of the equator. The two regions, aside from their geographic positions, differ greatly in a wide range of other categories as well.

So, what is the difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic? Let’s find out. 

Arctic and Antarctic Differences

The major distinction between the Arctic and the Antarctic is that they are located on the polar opposite ends of the world, factually.  

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The Arctic is located at the North Pole, whereas the South Pole is in Antarctica. 

Another significant difference between the two is that the Arctic is an ocean that is encircled by land and protected by a thin covering of permanent sea ice. 

The Arctic Ocean is bordered by six nations. They are:


  1. Canada
  2. The United States
  3. Denmark
  4. Russia
  5. Norway
  6. Iceland. 

On the other hand, Antarctica is a continent that is encircled by a rim of sea ice, the Southern Ocean, and a very thick ice cap. There are mountains in Antarctica, the tallest of which rises to a maximum of little over 16,000 feet. 

The continent does not belong to any nation, despite the fact that it is the location of numerous scientific bases.

Arctic and Antarctic Temperature

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Compared to the north pole, the south pole is much colder. Although frigid, the ocean beneath the Arctic ice is still warmer than the ice in the Antarctic glacier. 

The force of the winds blowing around the poles is the primary cause of the South Pole being so much colder than the North Pole. Strong winds in Antarctica prevent warmer air from mixing with polar air. 

In the Arctic, this also occurs, but the winds that surround the North Pole are not as intense. As a result, the Arctic gets warmer as warmer air from the mid-latitudes mixes with polar air.

The data made available by NASA shows that the average temperature of the North Pole during summer is 0° C, whereas, the South Pole’s average temperature is −28.2° C. 

Arctic and Antarctic Plants and Animals


The majority of the plant life in the Arctic is found on the tundra, an enormous, low-growing, treeless region of about 11.5 million km2 that is primarily covered by permafrost. The tundra is home to roughly 1,700 different plant species, which include sedges, grasses, mosses, liverworts, a wide range of flowering plants of the alpine type, and numerous lichens.

On the other side, there are significantly fewer plants in the Antarctic. Only 1% of the continent is bereft of ice. Grass and alpine are the only higher plant species to be found in Antarctica. There are about 100 kinds of moss, 400 species of lichens, and 25 species of liverworts as well. 



In the Arctic, animals such as Reindeer, musk ox, lemmings, arctic hares, arctic terns, snowy owls, squirrels, arctic foxes, and polar bears can be found on the land. These creatures can move south in the winter and north again in the more fruitful summer months since the Arctic is a part of the landmasses of Europe, North America, and Asia.

There are other varieties of huge aquatic species in the Arctic, including walruses and seals, and Whales, including narwhals, although they are rare. 


Image: A polar bear of the North Pole

Antarctica is home to 235 different species of animal life. Penguins, whales, seals, albatrosses, other seabirds, and a variety of invertebrates like krill constitute the foundation of the Antarctic food chain. These animals are also among the most prevalent and well-known inhabitants of the southern continent.


Image: A penguin of the South Pole

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Apart from being extremely cold regions, the arctic and the antarctic have one thing in common: global warming. These regions play a big part in regulating the earth's temperature. 50–70% of incoming energy is reflected back into space by the sea ice's sparkling surface. The deep ocean floor, which absorbs 90% of the sun's energy, can be seen when the sea ice melts in the summer. As the ocean heats, the earth's temperature rises.

In addition, what happens in the polar regions has an impact on the entire world. These changes have an effect on global temperatures and may even change ocean circulation. If we don’t act now, the rising global warming will eventually melt the sea caps and glaciers, causing the whole planet to be submerged in water. 

We hope that this explainer was able to help you learn the difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic. 

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Are there polar bears in Antarctica?

No, there are no polar bears in antarctica, they live in the arctic.

Is Antarctica bigger than Arctic?

The Arctic has a surface area of roughly 14.5 million square kilometers. In second place, at approximately twice the size of Australia 14.2 million square kilometers, is Antarctica.

Which is colder the Arctic or Antarctic?

The Antarctic is much colder than the arctic. The data made available by NASA shows that the average temperature of North Pole during summer is 0° C, whereas, the South Pole’s average temperature is −28.2° C.
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