How do you live on the coldest continent on Earth?

Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth. The further from the coast you go, the higher and colder it gets. In most coastal regions, the mean annual temperature is around −12 °C. At 1,000 m, it is −20 °C. In the highest parts of Antarctica, near 4,000 m, it falls to −60 °C.

The lowest surface temperature ever recorded in nature was −89 °C at the Russian Vostok station, within the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The video above shows the unusual effect of throwing boiling water into the air when the temperature is below about −25 °C. The Antarctic air is cold and dry, and the droplets of boiling water have an increased surface area. Because of this combination, the water evaporates and then forms a mist of ice and supercooled water droplets. It freezes before it hits the ground.


Hypothermia is the lowering of body temperature below the normal. It is the most dangerous risk when expeditioners are in the field. This is why it is so important to keep warm and dry — taking the correct clothes and equipment with you is essential.

When people go out in the field they either live in fibreglass huts called apples or special tents. Polar Pyramid tents sleep two comfortably. These tents can survive very strong winds. One even survived the entire winter season in 1998 at Ardery Island.

Expeditioners undergo special training to make sure they stay safe in the field.