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> Polar Temperatures, Temps and ice thickness
Edward Hollowell
post May 25 2005, 04:05 PM
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blink.gif My 8th grade students want to know how cold it gets in the arctic and how fast the ice freezes.

Ed Hollowell FGMS Suffolk World Geography Teacher
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post May 25 2005, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE(Edward Hollowell @ May 25 2005, 04:05 PM)
blink.gif  My 8th grade students want to know how cold it gets in the arctic and how fast the ice freezes. 

Ed Hollowell  FGMS  Suffolk    World Geography  Teacher

Hello Mr. Hollowell, and hello to your 8th Grade students:

Thanks for the question!

To answer about the temperature: It can get pretty cold! A record low temperature was about -68 degrees C (-90F). You've probably talked about the Arctic being dark most of the winter and light most of the summer, so this will have a big effect on the temperature. The average temperature in the winter is around -35C (-31F), so the lows will be colder than that. In the summer, the average is a little above 0C (32F).

Luckily, I'll be there when it's "warm" smile.gif ,which means probably the 20s or 30sF.
The good thing is that since the sun will be up all the time, the temperature won't change a lot. Here's a good website that has two graphs about the temperature that maybe you can talk about: http://nsidc.org/arcticmet/factors/temperature.html

To answer about how fast the ice freezes:That's a tough one! I'm not sure I can give a specific rate (but I'll look into it for you!), but I do know the amount of ice changes lots between summer and winter. If you go to this website http://vitalgraphics.grida.no/arcticmap/ , and click on "Advanced Mode" in the bottom left margin, you should be able to click on a map that shows how much ice covers the Arctic in the winter (click on the "winter ice extent" box, then click "refresh"), and how much it covers in the summer (click on the "summer ice extent" box, then click "refresh"). The thickness of the ice is usually somewhere between 1 and 10 meters (about 3-33 feet).

The formation of the ice isn't as simple as you might think either. If you want to read about more than you probably ever wanted to know about ice, here's a good article: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_wadhams.html . It's kind of wordy, but maybe Mr. Hollowell can pick out the good parts for you biggrin.gif , and it has some good pictures at the end.

I hope this answers your questions. If not, come back and ask again...Or, still come back and ask another question!

Mr. Marshall

PS. For a more in-depth activity that relates to the change in the ice cover shown in the maps I referenced above, check out the activity that another TREC teacher, Bob Oddo, posted Here
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