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    Ice cap climate


    • An ice cap climate is a polar climate where the temperature never or almost never exceeds 0 °C (32 °F). The climate covers areas in or near the polar regions, such as Antarctica and Greenland, as well as the highest mountaintops. Such areas are covered by a permanent layer of ice and have no vegetation, but they may have animal life, that usually feeds from the oceans. Ice cap climates are inhospitable to human life. Antarctica, the coldest continent on Earth, sustains no permanent human residents, but have some civil inhabitants in proximity to research stations in coastal settlements that are maritime polar.

      Under the Köppen climate classification, the ice cap climate is denoted as EF. Ice caps are defined as a climate with no months above 0 °C (32 °F). Such areas are found around the north and south pole, and on the top of the highest mountains. Since the temperature never exceeds the melting point of ice, any snow or ice that accumulates remains there permanently, over time forming a large ice sheet.

      The ice cap climate is distinct from the tundra climate, or ET. A tundra climate has a summer season with temperatures consistently above freezing for several months. This summer is enough to melt the winter ice cover, which prevents the formation of ice sheets. Because of this, tundras have vegetation, while ice caps do not.

      Ice cap climate is the world's coldest climate, and includes the coldest places on Earth. Vostok, Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, having recorded a temperature of −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F). The following chart indicates the average and record temperatures in this research station through a year:

      The constant freezing temperatures cause the formation of large ice sheets in ice cap climates. These ice sheets, however, are not static, but slowly move off the continents into the surrounding waters. New snow and ice accumulation then replaces the ice that is lost. Precipitation is nearly non-existent in ice cap climates. It is never warm enough for rain, and usually too cold to generate snow. However, wind can blow snow onto the ice sheets from nearby tundras.


      Climate data for Vostok station, 1958–2010
      Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
      Record high °C (°F) −14.0
      (6.8)
      −21.0
      (−5.8)
      −30.0
      (−22)
      −33.0
      (−27.4)
      −38.0
      (−36.4)
      −33.0
      (−27.4)
      −34.1
      (−29.4)
      −34.9
      (−30.8)
      −34.3
      (−29.7)
      −33.6
      (−28.5)
      −24.3
      (−11.7)
      −14.1
      (6.6)
      −14.0
      (6.8)
      Average high °C (°F) −27.0
      (−16.6)
      −38.7
      (−37.7)
      −52.9
      (−63.2)
      −61.1
      (−78)
      −62.0
      (−79.6)
      −60.6
      (−77.1)
      −62.4
      (−80.3)
      −63.9
      (−83)
      −61.6
      (−78.9)
      −51.5
      (−60.7)
      −37.2
      (−35)
      −27.1
      (−16.8)
      −50.5
      (−58.91)
      Daily mean °C (°F) −32.0
      (−25.6)
      −44.3
      (−47.7)
      −57.9
      (−72.2)
      −64.8
      (−84.6)
      −65.8
      (−86.4)
      −65.3
      (−85.5)
      −66.7
      (−88.1)
      −67.9
      (−90.2)
      −66.0
      (−86.8)
      −57.1
      (−70.8)
      −42.6
      (−44.7)
      −31.8
      (−25.2)
      −55.18
      (−67.32)
      Average low °C (°F) −37.5
      (−35.5)
      −50.0
      (−58)
      −61.8
      (−79.2)
      −67.8
      (−90)
      −69.1
      (−92.4)
      −68.9
      (−92)
      −70.4
      (−94.7)
      −71.5
      (−96.7)
      −70.2
      (−94.4)
      −63.1
      (−81.6)
      −49.8
      (−57.6)
      −38.0
      (−36.4)
      −59.84
      (−75.71)
      Record low °C (°F) −56.4
      (−69.5)
      −64.0
      (−83.2)
      −75.0
      (−103)
      −86.0
      (−122.8)
      −81.2
      (−114.2)
      −83.8
      (−118.8)
      −89.2
      (−128.6)
      −88.3
      (−126.9)
      −85.9
      (−122.6)
      −76.1
      (−105)
      −63.9
      (−83)
      −50.1
      (−58.2)
      −89.2
      (−128.6)
      Average precipitation mm (inches) 1.0
      (0.039)
      0.7
      (0.028)
      2.0
      (0.079)
      2.4
      (0.094)
      2.8
      (0.11)
      2.5
      (0.098)
      2.2
      (0.087)
      2.3
      (0.091)
      2.4
      (0.094)
      1.9
      (0.075)
      1.1
      (0.043)
      0.7
      (0.028)
      22
      (0.866)
      Average relative humidity (%) 70.1 68.6 66.2 64.7 64.7 65.5 65.7 65.8 66.2 67.4 68.7 69.8 66.95
      Mean monthly sunshine hours 696.4 566.8 347.3 76.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 203.4 480.2 682.3 708.8 3,761.5
      Source #1:
      Source #2: Pogoda.ru.net (records only except for August record low), (August record low)

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