Time Zones in Antarctica
Technically, Antarctica, and the North Pole, fall under all time zones currently followed by the rest of the world. This is because the longitude lines that are used to define time zones all meet at the two poles.
No Official Time Zone
Any of the 24 standard time zones (UTC+/-n) or the two non standard time zones (UTC+/- n:30, UTC +/- n:45) would be an appropriate way of keeping time in Antarctica.
The lack of an official time zone in Antarctica is not a problem, since nobody lives there permanently. However, a number of countries do operate research stations in the continent and to make things convenient for the researchers and visitors, each research base determines the time zone it wants to operate in.
Take Your Pick
For practical purposes, some research stations follow the time zone of their home country. Others, like the McMurdo station and Palmer station, both run by the US, synchronize their time to the closest point in the inhabited world.
McMurdo for instance, follows the same time as Christchurch, New Zealand, since most visitors and researchers to the station use Christchurch as their point of embarkation to Antarctica. Palmer Station on the other hand, follows Chilean time.
Other research stations tend to follow UTC.
Since most of its territory lies below the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica experiences 24 hour of sunlight during the summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter.
This makes having Daylight Saving Time pointless for the continent. However, stations that synchronize their time zones with ones that follows DST, do set their clocks when the time zone they follow starts or ends DST. For example, McMurdo station follows New Zealand Standard Time, which is UTC+12, during the winter and then spring forward one hour in the summer to UTC+13 to follow DST changes in Christchurch.
Time in North Pole
While there is land surrounding the South Pole, the North Pole is mostly surrounded by drifting sea ice. This makes it harder for anyone to keep time in the North Pole. For the most part, researchers and visitors to the North Pole tend to follow the time zone of their respective countries and regions.
How to Give Directions in Antarctica
The fact that any point on the South Pole directs to the geographical north makes giving directions in Antarctica a challenging task. To overcome this problem, directions are given in reference to the Grid North which points towards the Prime Meridian.
In This Article
- No Official Time Zone
- Take Your Pick
- DST Pointless
- Time in North Pole
- How to Give Directions in Antarctica