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

What effect does the wind have?

The effect of the wind on the human body is to cool it down. The stronger the wind, the greater the chilling effect. This is called 'wind chill'. In the Antarctic, with very low temperatures and strong winds, wind chill can result in frostbite and even death. In polar areas weather forecasts often give the actual temperature and the temperature allowing for wind chill.

Temperature Wind Temp. allowing for wind chill
0C 20 knots -14C
-10C 20 knots -28C
-20C 30 knots -48C

At the South Pole cold descending air causes high pressure. Air blows outwards from the South Pole increasing in speed as it descends from the polar plateau. This katabatic effect causes very strong winds. The winds are deflected, due to the coriolis force (the effect of the Earth's rotation) and tend to blow from a south-easterly direction. In the Australian section of the Antarctic gales are experienced on 340 days a year.

Despite the cold, the wind and the blizzards, Antarctica can be sunny and still with the clearest atmosphere in the world.

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