GEOGRAPHIC POLES: North Pole (Arctic) vs South Pole (Antarctica)

Geographic Poles

Last Updated: Jan 1, 2019

Earth’s geographic poles

North South Geographic Pole

If you stick a pencil directly through the Earth at the point of rotation, these two points are the North and South poles.

Geographically speaking, it’s where lines of longitude meet. If you were to travel to the North Pole, it’s nearly impossible to install a physical marker there.

This is because the North Pole is covered by moving ice in the Arctic Ocean. But the South Pole is currently positioned on the continental landmass of Antarctica.

Even though Antarctica moves only a few meters a year, we have marked the true South with a permanent marker station.

The North Pole: The Arctic

If a surveyor wanted to install a physical marker at the North Pole, they wouldn’t be able to do it. This is because the North Pole is covered by moving Arctic Ocean ice.

Because it doesn’t rain very much, the air is very dry here. There’s water in the Arctic, but it’s all locked as frozen ice. This means that most of the North Pole is a desert because precipitation rates are low.

The Arctic ocean doesn’t have land. All our really is just a continuation of the Atlantic Ocean. It has a frozen ice sheet a few meters thick. It’s a and may disappear in a century.

Over the last decades, disappearing sea ice has been jeopardizing mammal populations like polar bears. This shift in climate has forced polar bears to migrate south. Despite the alarming decline in polar bears, the Arctic is home to seals, walruses and seabirds.

Much of the Arctic is unexplored like our oceans, Whether it’s mineral extraction, natural gas or shipping routes, the Arctic is one of the last greatest frontiers of discovery on Earth.

The South Pole: Antarctica

antarctica

The South Pole is currently positioned on the continental landmass of Antarctica. Even though Antarctica moves only a few meters a year, we have marked the true South with a permanent marker station.

Like the North Pole, Antarctica is very dry. All of its water is frozen as ice. Because of its low precipitation rates, Antarctica is the world’s largest desert on our planet.

Other than Greenland, Antarctica contains most of the world’s freshwater ice in the form of glaciers. This makes freshwater locked in Antarctica glaciers one of the largest sources in the world.

Penguins only reside in Antarctica. Meanwhile, various forms of whales, seals, seabirds call South Pole their home.

Ozone depletion in the geographic poles

Ozone depletion is most prominent in Antarctica. It exists on the Arctic but it’s less visible. This phenomenon occurs the geographic poles because of the polar vortex isolates the Antarctica air in winter.

The main problem with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is that they escape in the atmosphere. Then, UV light breaks up CFC into chlorine. Chlorine is the catalyst that converts ozone into O2 removing ozone from the atmosphere.

It occurs at the South Pole because the extremely cold weather allows ice clouds to form. Chlorine molecules bind within the ice clouds. When conditions warm, they finally break down ozone to O2. This forms the hole in the ozone layer.

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