Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsWeather · 10 months ago

Which one plays the real roles of the coldness of the polar regions? Low solar angles or polar night for months?

4 Answers

  • 10 months ago

    The two are related. Because of the tilt of earth's axis, the sun will never rise above ~23° altitude at the poles on their respective summer solstices. Where I live, the sun is at that altitude on December 18 or 19, and again on December 23 or 24. As you would expect in the northern hemisphere, my area tends to be cold around that time of the year. And that's because of the indirect sunlight. That's why it does get cold in the winter and hot in the summer. The closer to directly overhead the sun is, the more intense its rays, and the warmer the area gets. Since the sun at the poles never rises to even 45°, sunlight is always at a low angle, even when constant in the summer, and it is never able to warm the poles the same way it warms lower altitudes.

    And because the earth is tilted as far as it is, there are corresponding regions around the poles that experience polar night in their respective winters. And in the complete absence of sunlight, the poles get much colder.

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    wrong forum.  belongs in Earth Sciences & Geology

  • 10 months ago

    Both really.  Both allow less heat absorption of the sun.  Even when the sun is up for months at a time, the angle it's at can be so low that the surface never thaws - it's 'permafrost.' 

  • 10 months ago

    Both is most of the correct answer. Another is the vast amount of cooling by ice already there. Antarctica is a big deep freeze, the Arctic Ocean has cold water and some ice, Canada and Siberia have permafrost.

    But those things are changing!!

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