Antarctica 's climate is as inhospitable as it is due to several factors, mainly to do with:
» Antarctica is colder than the Arctic even though during the course of the year it receives almost the same amount of sunlight. In fact, Antarctica receives a little more solar energy than the Arctic because the Earth is closest to the sun in December when Antarctica has 24 hours of sunlight .But the perpetual ice sheet covering the majority of the continent is highly reflective and doesn't absorb warmth. Attenuation of solar radiation energy is greatest at high latitudes where the path through the atmosphere is longest. Also, solar energy reaching the surface at high latitude is spread over a larger area because the surface is at a greater angle to the incoming radiation. Therefore the earth's surface at the poles is a heat sink when compared with that at the tropics. The poles simply lose more energy than they receive - they have a negative radiation balance. The net radiation is the balance between incoming energy absorbed by a surface and outgoing radiation that's emitted from the surface.
^ It is surrounded by ocean.
^ It is the windiest continent with the highest wind speed measured at d'Urville (327 km/h).
^ It is extremely high in altitude. Antarctica is the highest continent on the planet with an average altitude of 2500m.
^ It is covered almost entirely by ice and snow. Antarctica has 85% of the planets' ice, with ice over 4700m thick in some places.