All of us know that the coldest regions of the Earth are the South and North Poles. Both these regions belong to the polar climate zone.
The Polar Regions are always covered by snow and ice throughout the year. In these high latitude regions of the world, the Sun is never high enough in the sky to cause considerable melting. The temperature rarely rises above freezing. Temperatures can fall to extremely low values during the long polar nights (six months). The lowest temperature ever recorded occurred in Antarctica (-88°C).
The North Polar Region includes the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, the Greenland continent and much of Northern Canada and Northern Siberia. The South Pole is the vast mountainous continent of Antarctic that is covered by snow and its ice surface is several kilometers thick.
A polar climate is considered to be dry. The descending air is cold and lacks significant moisture. The lack of moisture prevents formation of clouds and snowfall. Some polar regions can be as dry as the hot deserts of the subtropical climate zone receiving less than 250 millimeters of precipitation each year. The formation of continental ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica has taken millions of years.
The North and South Poles are the most chilled places on the Earth - hardly someone denies it. But having particular similes - both covered with ice, away from civilization, and of course, super-cold - they are rather different. The first and very distinct difference between the South and North Poles is in their geography. The North Pole is on a bed of water and the South on a continent with a pile of ice 3000 meters high.
The Arctic - the North Pole - consists of the Arctic Ocean, bordered by the northern parts of the mainlands of North American and Eurasia, and their outlying islands. Some of these islands are mountainous with interior icecaps, such as Greenland and the northern half of Novaya Zemlaya. Others are low-lying and not glaciated, such as Wrangel Island and the western islands of the Canadian Arctic.
Antarctica - the South Pole - is a continent situated in the southern bottom of Earth. It is surrounded by the Southern Ocean and divided in two by the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. Ice covers 98% of the continent - 14 million kilometers that makes it the fifth largest continent and the world's largest desert.
There is a season difference between these two poles that is also called forth by the geographic dissimilitude. Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February and vice versa in Arctic.
Next one distinction is average temperatures. Even though they both get equal amount of sunshine a year, the Arctic is much hotter because of the ocean. Oceans heat up slower and cool down slower. Land heats up faster yet cools down faster. Antarctica is approximately 30 degrees Celsius colder than the Arctic.
In the North, the summers get up to 0 degrees Celsius and in winter -30 degrees Celsius.
But in Antarctica the summers are -30 degrees Celsius and the winter -60 degrees Celsius.
The difference between the South and North Poles in altitude and the amount of ice are also factors in their coldness "competition". Higher the altitude, colder the air. Taking place on an immense ice plateau the South Pole is 2,835 meters above sea level, while the North Pole is on the water, so the altitude is 0 meters. South Pole is a "champion" in the amount of ice. It's the well-known fact that almost 98% of the Earth's ice is in the Polar Regions, but 91% of it is found in Antarctica, making it the coldest place on earth.
As a result of geographic and temperature diversity flora and fauna of the South and North Poles are also different. The flora and fauna of South and North Poles are rather poor, but in this case Arctic vegetation and animal kingdom are more diverse than in Antarctica where vegetation is represented by only two species: Antarctic hairgrass and a representative of the carnation family, the pearlwort and great amount of lichen (about 300 species) and moss (about 100 species). Fauna in Antarctic is also very modest: mammals (the elephant seal, leopard seal, crab-eater seal, etc) and birds (penguins, stormy petrels, petrels, skuas, albatrosses, seagulls, terns, cormorants and snowy sheatbills). Arctic fauna, on the contrary, is represented by more than 20 species of land animals, including the squirrel, wolf, fox, moose, caribou, reindeer, polar bear, musk ox, and about six species of aquatic mammals such as the walrus, seal, and whale.
So as you can see -- on the surface you may not think there's much difference between the north and south but as we have seen, there really is!