polar climate

Polar Climate: What Is It & Definition

With many different climates around the world, it is always interesting to learn about them. The polar climate is no exception to this. It is known for its lack of warm summers and its average temperature being below 50 degrees Fahrenheit every month. With so much learn about this interesting climate, it is only right that researchers continue to learn and explore everything it has to offer.

If you find this post interesting, then share is with your friends, so they can also learn more about the polar climate and everything it has to offer.

What Causes a Polar Climate?

Polar regions are extremely cold. This is because they get less sunlight compared to the rest of the Earth. Even though the Earth rotates around the sun, it does not reach every part of it. Any sunlight that does manage to reach the polar regions is minimal and is spread across a large area, so it never warms up enough to melt the ice.

Characteristics of a Polar Climate


Air in the polar regions is very dry. This happens because of the cold temperatures. Also, there is a lack of moisture in the air, so not many clouds form in these regions. That is why there is very little precipitation. Some regions of the polar climate only receive 25cm of precipitation a year.

Permanent Ice Sheet

An ice sheet is a very large glacier. Some are larger than 50,000 square kilometers. However, there are currently only two ice sheets on our planet. There is one in Greenland and one in Antarctica. The Earth used to be covered by more ice sheets thousands of years ago.

Antarctica is currently covered by the largest ice sheet that is more than 14 million square kilometers. The ice sheet in Greenland is much smaller.


It is very cold in the polar climate regions because of the lack of direct sunlight. Some areas of the Arctic tend to have an average temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit in January but can drop to as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit during their winter months. However, the Antarctica can see temperatures as low as -128.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Arctic does receive some sunlight, but it is minimal and is spanned across a large area. Antarctica receives an even lesser amount of sunlight.

Types of Polar Climate

Permanent ice sheet of polar climate

ET, or Tundra Climate

A tundra climate is where there is at least one month out of the year where the average temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to vegetation, no trees can grow in these regions, but there are a few plants that can grow, such as moss.

EF, or Ice Cap Climate

An ice cap climate is where there is no month out of the year where the average temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezing temperatures have made it so no vegetation can grow in an ice cap climate. Ice also accumulates until it needs to spread elsewhere.

Locations with Polar Climate


Many parts of the Arctic experience ice coverage all year round. The average temperatures in January span from -40 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while the winter temperatures can also drop to -50 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, July tends to average out between 14 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Arctic consists of the ocean surrounding nearly every part of it. That is why the climate of the Arctic is usually regulated by the ocean water. With the ocean water staying at a certain temperature, it prevents the Arctic from becoming the coldest place on Earth.


Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. It has been recorded to be as cold as -192.56 degrees Fahrenheit. With the lack of precipitation, it is known as a desert. Also, it is extremely difficult for any weather fronts to reach the continent.

Effects of Polar Climate on Climate, Weather, and Land

Many do not realize how important the polar climate is to Earth. The polar climate is made up of two of the largest white ice regions. These areas are able to reflect the sun’s rays back into space, which allows Earth to stay at an even temperature. Also, when sea ice forms, it actually helps to regulate the movements of the ocean’s waters.

However, with global warming speeding up, the ice is melting, and the Earth is continuing to warm-up. With smaller patches of ice to reflect the sun’s rays back into space, the ocean is now able to absorb the heat and warm-up the Earth.

Animals of Polar Climate

animals of polar climate

Only animals who are able to adapt to these harsh weather climates are able to live in the polar climates. The North Pole tends to have a lot of polar bears who have adapted and are able to survive the weather. In the South Pole, penguins can be found since they are able to live and sustain life there.

Facts About Polar Climate

  • The polar climate can also be found in Canada, Siberia, Russia, Greenland, and Antarctica.
  • Common animals that live in these areas are polar bears, seals, arctic foxes, small rodents, and arctic wolves.
  • Not many people live in the polar climate, but they are important to our ecosystem.


There is still much to learn when it comes to the polar climate, but if the effects of global warming do not slow down, then researchers may not get a chance to learn about it. The regions it covers do not have a lot of wildlife or vegetation, but the ice plays a very important role in maintaining the Earth’s temperature.

If you’ve found this post useful in regards to polar climates, then make sure to share it with friends who are also interested in learning about it.

FAQs About Polar Climate

What Is an Example of a Polar Climate?

Antarctica is an example of a polar climate. Warm summers are not experienced here because the average temperature is less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why Do Polar Climates Have Such a Dry Climate?

The reason for such dry climates in the polar climate is because of the very cold temperatures. This does not allow for much moisture to gather in the air, so clouds have trouble forming and releasing any form of precipitation.

Why Are the Polar Climates so Cold?

Polar climates are cold because there is a lack of direct sunlight hitting these areas from the sun. Any sun that does reach them is minimal and is spanned across large areas, so it is difficult for these areas to warm-up.

How Does the Polar Climate Differ from the Tundra Climate?

The main difference between polar and tundra climates is that the polar regions cannot grow any plantation, but a tundra climate can. Also, the polar region is the environment that surrounds the North and South Poles, while the tundra is a biome that has cold temperatures and less trees. There is also a little bit of human activity in the tundra areas, but there is nearly none in polar regions.

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