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This climate is characterized by bitterly cold temperatures and scant precipitation. It occurs poleward of 65° N and S latitude over the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica and over the permanently frozen portion of the Arctic Ocean. In snow and ice climate regions, temperatures are below freezing throughout the year, and annual temperature ranges are large but again not as large as in the continental subarctic climates. Winters are frigid; the lowest temperatures occur at the end of the long polar night. Precipitation is meager in the cold, stable air, with the largest amounts occurring on the coastal margins. Most of this precipitation results from the periodic penetration of a cyclone into the region, which brings snow and ice pellets and, with strong winds, blizzards. High winds also occur in the outer portions of the Greenland and Antarctic EF climates, where cold, dense air drains off the higher, central sections of the ice caps. The EF climate holds the distinction for the lowest recorded temperatures at Earth's surface in Antarctica.
The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "EF". (Snow and Ice Climate).
The average temperature for the year in McMurdo Sound is 1.0°F (-17.2°C). The warmest month, on average, is January with an average temperature of 27.0°F (-2.8°C). The coolest month on average is August, with an average temperature of -16.0°F (-26.7°C).
The highest recorded temperature in McMurdo Sound is 49.0°F (9.4°C), which was recorded in December. The lowest recorded temperature in McMurdo Sound is -59.0°F (-50.6°C), which was recorded in July.
The average amount of precipitation for the year in McMurdo Sound is 7.5" (190.5 mm). The month with the most precipitation on average is February with 1.0" (25.4 mm) of precipitation. The month with the least precipitation on average is September with an average of 0.4" (10.2 mm).