Antarctica Weather Guide

Antarctica has the coldest, driest and windiest conditions on Earth. The coldest temperature ever officially recorded was -89.6 degrees Celsius in July 1983. While the temperatures vary vastly across the continent, simply put, the region experiences just 2 seasons: summer and winter. In summer there is 6 months of daylight and in winter it’s light out with 6 months of darkness (there is, however, a sort of spring in between the two). Most tourists visit in summer because in winter, the ice makes it harder for boats to sail. The Antarctic Peninsula has the most tolerable climate; the average summer temperature hovers around freezing but in winter drops to between -10 and -30 degrees Celsius. The thing about Antarctic weather is that it’s unpredictable – it’s possible to experience a 20-degree change in temperature in less than 24 hours.

Season and Clothing

Spring and Early Summer: November to December

The great white continent emerges after the longer winter. As the sun melts the ice, landscapes of sculpted ice and pristine icebergs are like crack for keen photographers. Most penguins are aflutter with courtship rituals in November with eggs being laid later in the month due to hatch by the end of December.

Average temperatures: -2.8 – 0.1 degrees Celsius on the peninsula, -6.7 – 0.8 degrees in coastal regions, -43.3 - 32.1degrees in the interior regions.
Appropriate clothing: Beanie, gloves and coat, knee-high wellies to stay dry when embarking on ice. Layer clothes and make sure that your outer clothing is both wind and waterproof.
Don't forget: UV sunglasses provide respite from the glare off the snow, ice and water.

Summer: January to February

During peak season, wildlife activities are in full swing and daytime temperatures on the peninsula have been to know to reach up to 10 degrees Celsius. As the ice melts, it’s possible to travel further south and many ships offer an ‘Antarctic Circle Crossing’ expedition during these months. Plus, 24 hours of sunlight means you can read a magazine on the deck of the boat at midnight!

Average temperatures: 0.8 – -0.1 degrees Celsius on the peninsula, -0.2 – -6 degrees in coastal regions, -32 - -44 degrees in interior regions.
Appropriate clothing: Beanie, gloves and coat, knee-high wellies to stay dry when embarking on ice. Layer clothes and make sure that your outer clothing is both wind and waterproof.
Don't forget:UV sunglasses provide respite from the glare off the snow, ice and water.

Late summer: March

The sun begins to set again and the evening and daily temperatures drop. Witness thin layers of ice become uniquely patterned from night frosts and watch snow algae blooms turn ice cliffs green and pink. Young penguins leave the nest to begin their life at sea. March is also peak season for whale watching and beautiful sunrises and sunsets create spectacular photo opportunities.

Average temperatures: -1.9 degrees Celsius (peninsula), -14 degrees Celsius (coastal), -57.9 degrees Celsius (interior).
Appropriate clothing: Beanie, gloves and coat, knee-high wellies to stay dry when embarking on ice. Layer clothes and make sure that your outer clothing is both wind and waterproof.
Don't forget: UV sunglasses provide respite from the glare off the snow, ice and water.

Winter: April to October

Winter in Antarctica = dark, cold and colder. Don’t worry about the details – you won’t be travelling here during this season!