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Climate: Polar

  • By: Grzegorz Rachlewicz
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Polar climates are the result of low total solar energy receipt but large seasonal variations in solar energy receipt at the Earth's North and South poles. In summer, incoming solar radiation greatly exceeds outgoing terrestrial radiation during the 24-hr. (hour) polar day, while in winter, the reverse occurs during the 24-hr. polar night. In addition, the high albedo coefficient (the parameter characterizing the diffused reflection of sunlight from the surface of an object) of snow and ice covers in polar areas results in even less solar energy receipt. As a result, solar radiation receipt above the 60th degree of latitude is two to ten times smaller than in the tropical climatic zone.

The regions of high latitudes vary geographically. They are represented by extensive land areas, ...

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