The Arctic vs. the Antarctic – Camille Seaman

On our planet, we have two polar regions: the Arctic, whose name comes from the Greek Arktikos, of the North, and the Antarctic from Antarktikos, opposite of the North. But there’s an easier way to remember them if you just remember what surrounds them. The Arctic, situated in the Northern hemisphere of our planet, is an ocean entirely surrounded by land. On the other side of the world, the Antarctic is a continent entirely surrounded by ocean. So, the Arctic has polar bears but no penguins, and the Antarctic has penguins but no polar bears. Let’s talk about the Arctic first. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean surrounded by treeless permafrost. The area can be defined as the region between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole. If you were to stand at the North Pole, everywhere you looked, in all directions, would be south. But standing at the North Pole is difficult to do for very long because it’s in the middle of an ocean, covered by constantly shifting, frozen sea ice. If you were to fall into the water at the North Pole, you’d fall into water that’s 13,980 feet deep. Above the water, average winter temperatures can be as low as -40 degrees Celsius, and the coldest recorded temperature is approximately -68 degrees Celsius. Despite these incredibly harsh conditions, humans have populated areas in the Arctic for thousands of years. Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice, zooplankton and phytoplankton, fish and marine mammals, birds, land animals, plants, and human societies. Okay, what about Antarctica? Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent, and it contains the geographic South Pole. It’s the fifth largest continent on the planet at nearly twice the size of Australia. Almost 98% of Anarctica is covered by ice at least one mile in thickness. Conditions in Antarctica are some of the most extreme in the entire world. On average, it’s the coldest, windiest, driest continent and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. You might think that it snows all the time at the Poles, but Antarctica is so dry, it’s considered a desert with annual precipitation of only 200 millimeters along the coast and far less inland. The temperature in Antarctica has reached -89 degrees Celsius. Because it’s so harsh and hard to get to, there are no permanent human residents on Antarctica, but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Even the most extreme animals fight for survival, and only cold-adapted organisms survive there, including many types of algae, animals, bacteria, fungi, plants, and protista. But why is Antarctica colder than its northern cousin? Well, first, much of the continent is more than three kilometers above sea level, and temperature decreases with elevation. That’s why mountaintops have snow on them. Second, remember that the Arctic is really a frozen ocean. The water in the ocean beneath it is warmer than the frozen ground in the Antarctic, and that warmth is transferred through the ice pack. This prevents temperatures in the Arctic regions from reaching the extremes typical of the land surface of Antarctica. Third, the seasons are conspiring against the Antarctic. During the aphelion in July, when the Earth is the farthest away from the Sun, it also happens to be winter in the Antarctic, which creates a double-whammy of cold for the southern pole. But despite being inhospitable, the North and South Pole are a big reason why our planet is the way it is. Both of our polar regions are very important climate controllers. They help moderate the temperature in our temperate zones and give us stable weather. As sea ice in the Arctic declines due to climate change and global warming, weather around the globe becomes increasing more unstable.

100 thoughts on “The Arctic vs. the Antarctic – Camille Seaman”

  1. I'll be honest I never had to have an easy way to remember the difference between the arctic or Antarctic

  2. Great job until the very end, about climate change (which is normal) and global warming (unproven). By far the most important factor for global temperature is the sun.

  3. Why is the Australian flag not even shown when most of Antarctica's land is Australian and is monitored by the Australian coast guard? That doesn't even include Australia's 'economic zone' that was bartered in the treaty and is now the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

  4. Some here say that the Brazil flag is fluttering in the wrong direction, compared to the others. Actually, one can see the wind direction, and the other flags are fluttering wrong.
    Some here say that there aren't certain other flags shown. Those flags shown are a few of the countries of explorers who have been to the South Pole, which actually is on display there. There also really is a pole and a base like that there.
    I'm incidentally in South Africa. There's the South African flag also there, which isn't shown in the video. It doesn't bother me at all. I don't even notice.

  5. If one wants to be more correct about it, there are actually no penguins at the south pole. It is too far inland, and too much on a high plateau. There are penguins on Antarctica yes.
    Maybe there also aren't polar bears at the actual north pole.

  6. 2 questions

    Is wird shape of antartica a result of land?
    Why didnt anybody reached america trough arctic?It is just pernament ice.

  7. Antarctica is technically smaller than Australia, since most of it is covered with ice and isn't actually land. If we look at Antarctica without the ice sheet, It's actually a series of islands, the largest of which is smaller than Australia.

  8. To be more precise, there are penguins at Antarctica, but not at the actual south pole. That's because the south pole is too far inland. It is also on a high plateau.
    That makes me wonder if there are polar bears at the actual north pole, being too far from the ocean waters.

  9. Many reckon that penguins are only at Antarctica. That is not true. They are indigenous to parts of the southern hemisphere. Can see here:

  10. Many have wondered what research gets done at Antarctica. Can see these:

  11. I challenge global warming extremists to station a satellite camera over the polar regions with free public live feed. Ironically the ISS has an equatorial orbit. Almost every polar region photo on the internet is doctored.

  12. Earth is measurably, observably, repeatably FLAT, also known as the scientific method. Your programming is showing, "scientists" are nothing more that space priests selling the same old lie they did in (b)abylon.

  13. 0:18 "But there's an easier way to remember them, if you just remember what surrounds them" …how does that make it any easier!? It rather makes an actually easy thing to remember unnecessarily complicated…

  14. How could there be North or South poles, if the Earth is flat as a pancake?

    Stop spreading unscientific propaganda TedEd!

  15. Arctic: "QUESTION: What kind of bear is best?"
    Antarctic: "That's a ridiculous question."
    Arctic: "FALSE. Polar bear."
    Antarctic: "Well, that's debatable. There are basically two schools of thought…"
    Arctic: "FACT: Polar bears eat seals. Polar bears. Seals…"

  16. Dear ted-ed plz show something about chimera..i heard once on a tv show.. But i dont think most people heard of it

  17. 3:40, The Earth is farther away from the Sun during the Southern hemisphere's winter but the distance has little effect. The fact that the Earth is moving more slowly in it's orbit around the Sun because it is farther away, giving the Southern hemisphere about 7 more days of winter than the Northern hemisphere.

  18. How is the no polar bear / no penguin thing an easy way to remember the difference? It's just another thing to try to remember. Am I being dense?

  19. There is nothing we can do about global warming, not even if we gave billions of dollars to some organization.

  20. Polar bears didn't reach the South pole because they originated in North pole and came after the Ice age otherwise they could have travelled from North to South pole if there would have been ice all along.

  21. I felt that the southern half of earth is more bizarre. It has more water and more unstable weather and more strange animals. The Arctic is not as extreme as the Antarctic

  22. Aaand here's a rap battle between the North Pole and the South Pole: (solar powered). 🙂

  23. Everything made sense to me until you got to the very end and you mentioned something about global warming and climate change. That's when you lost me.

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