Antarctica can be called a desert because of the low levels of precipitation. Antarctica has the coldest land temperature recorded on the Earth of -89.2°C. The average annual temperature is around -50°C.
The precipitation in Antarctica is mainly snow. In coastal regions about 200 mm can fall annually. In mountainous regions and on the East Antarctica plateau the amount is less than 50 mm annually. This is not as high as other desert regions because it is so cold, so the snow gradually builds up year after year. There are also strong winds, with recordings of up to 200 mph being made.
Antarctica's seasons are opposite to the seasons that we're familiar with in the UK. Antarctic summers happen at the same time as UK winters. This is because Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere, which faces the Sun during our winter time.
The ice in Antarctica is on average 2.5 km thick.
Nearly 99 per cent of Antarctica is covered by an ice sheet. The ice sheet moves by gravity downhill. A few mountain peaks may be seen above the ice sheet. These are called Nunataks.
How icebergs are formed: