Discover Just How Cold It Gets in the North Pole

Written by Em Thomas
Published: December 9, 2023
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We know the North Pole from holiday stories of Santa and reindeer. It seems, to many of us, to be a winter wonderland all year round! But how cold is the North Pole in reality?

Let’s discover where the North Pole is and just how chilly it gets there throughout the year.

Where is the North Pole?

Prince Patrick Island

The North Pole is made up sea water that’s generally frozen.


Unsurprisingly, the North Pole is the farthest north point on Earth. It’s an area that’s nestled within the chilly Arctic Ocean and is generally covered with ice. Some close countries to the North Pole include Greenland, which is just over 1,200 miles away, and the Canadian territory of Nunavut, which is almost 2,000 miles from the Pole.

The North Pole is not land, and it’s not a country. It’s a spot that identifies the most northerly point of the Earth’s axis, making it a vital part of understanding the tilt of the Earth. As far as we know, no reindeer or sleigh exist on this icy terrain!

How Cold is the North Pole?

Being that the North Pole is one of the two most extreme spots on Earth, you can certainly expect some chilly weather. But just how cold is the North Pole? Does it have seasons? Let’s find out!

Does the North Pole have seasons?

Yes, the North Pole has seasons. But it’s not the blend of four seasons that we experience here in the United States. Because of the tilt and the orbit around the sun, the North Pole experiences two polar seasons: summer and winter. There’s no spring or fall in the winter.

This doesn’t just affect temperature, but also hours of daylight. During the summer, the North Pole sees sun all day. In the winter, the sun never rises! Each season lasts exactly six months. In northern places, like Alaska, there are stretches of the year where the sun doesn’t rise. In the North Pole, it’s exactly six months of the year. The same is true for the sun never setting. These extremes make for intense and, well, polar, seasonal patterns.

What’s the temperature like in the North Pole?

Frozen man in a blue jacket and hat lying down covered snow and frost, trying to stay warm on a very cold winter day, snow falls around him. Sick mountaineer with hypothermia on snow during the day.

If you were to be able to travel to the North Pole, you’d need to bundle up. -40 degrees Fahrenheit is an unsafe temperature for humans to exist at!

©Jelena Stanojkovic/

The temperatures in the North Pole are extreme, and very different depending on the season. However, all things considered, the North Pole is cold all year. While the averages between winter and summer are about seventy degrees different, the temperatures are certainly what we’d all describe as chilly!

During the summer, the average temperature reaches about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s right — even when the sun never sets, the North Pole doesn’t reach a temperature above freezing! However, during the winter, the average temperature is a brisk -40 degrees Fahrenheit. And again, these are just averages! There are certainly even colder days throughout the year.

In fact, the coldest day ever recorded was in December of 1991, when a weather station registered Greenland hitting almost -70 degrees. The North Pole is more north, so it’s likely it was even chillier there!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Erika Bisbocci/

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About the Author

Em Thomas is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering places, travel, and chili peppers! She's an MBA student with a passion for storytelling. Though she's a Michigan native, she presently resides in Denver, Colorado. While she doesn't currently have any pets of her own, she's an avid dogsitter with an affinity for big dogs!

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