Which Continent Is the Highest, the Driest, and the Coldest in the World and How Cold Is Antarctica?

Antarctica, the land that surrounds the South Pole, is even colder than the North Pole.

Temperatures can reach a minimum of between −80 °C (−112 °F) and −90 °C (−130 °F) in the interior of Antarctica during winter.

It rarely snows in the interior because the air is so dry due to the continent’s high elevation.

Along the coasts, rain and snowfall average about 24 inches (61 cm) a year.

Antarctica is also the highest continent in average elevation above sea level. This is because it is covered by a huge layer of ice, about 7,100 feet (2,200 m) thick.

Beneath all that ice is a land that looks much like other continents, with mountains, valleys, and plains.

Millions of years ago, Antarctica was ice free.