The continent of Antarctica is twice the size of the United States, is the Earth's most southerly region, and is the largest area in the world with a permanent ice cap. Glaciers covered with snow extend to the coast which is fringed by large areas of pack and drift ice. Only the highest mountains in the interior project through this vast thickness of ice.
The table for Stonington Island, just within the Antarctic Circle off the peninsula of Graham Land, illustrates temperature conditions on the fringes of the continent. Inland conditions are even harsher and they are made more severe by the altitude of much of the interior and the frequent strong winds above gale force.
The centre of the continent at the South Pole is over 2,800 m/9,200 ft. Virtually all precipitation in Antarctica is snow and this is frequently whipped up from the surface in fierce blizzards. The weather is changeable throughout the year. During the long Antarctic winter conditions outdoors often reach or exceed the limits of human tolerance through the combination of low temperature and wind. This results in excessive wind chill and frostbite unless appropriate clothing is worn or shelter sought when conditions get too bad.
During calm, sunny days in summer, particularly on the coast, temperatures rise above freezing point and with no wind the temperatures may feel quite warm.
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