Glasgow Digital Library Voyage of the Scotia BRUCE PEOPLE SHIP ANTARCTIC INDEX
Scotland and the Antarctic

Section 1: Background - Arctic and Antarctic ... The Nature of Antarctica

How cold is the Antarctic?

The average annual temperatures in Scotland are between 3-5C in winter and 14-16C in the summer months. At the South Pole the summer temperatures average -28C and in the winter -59C. The lowest temperature on the planet was recorded in Antarctica. The sketch below shows the highest and lowest temperatures recorded in Scotland, the United Kingdom and the world.

Highest and lowest temperatures

58.0C World highest, Al'azizyah, Libya 1922
37.1C UK highest, Cheltenham 1990
32.8C Scotland highest, Selkirk 1868
-15.0C Warmest temperature at South Pole
-27.2C UK coldest, Braemar 1895, 1982, and Altnaharra 1995
-89.6C World coldest, Vostok, Antarctica

The temperatures at the coast are warmer than in the interior but even in the South Orkney Islands (where William Speirs Bruce overwintered) the summer temperature is only 0C and in the winter -10.2C. This is much colder than the Shetland Islands which are milder due to the Gulf Stream.

image from Voyage of the Scotia

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Glasgow Digital Library Voyage of the Scotia BRUCE PEOPLE SHIP ANTARCTIC INDEX