Antarctica is a 14 million km2, an ice-covered continent in the South Pole. The peninsula’s terrain serves as a home to abundant wildlife, varying from well-adapted animals to 1,150 species of fungi to multicolored diatoms. It is positioned asymmetrically around the South Pole and surrounded by Oceans.
Antarctica sits on every line of longitudes in the globe as they meet on the geographical South Pole’s center.
So, what time is it in Antarctica?
Time in Antarctica shouldn’t be a big issue unless you are a penguin, seal, or a minute tardigrade with a routine for breakfast and dinner. No human can survive and live permanently in Antarctica to make “Time” & “Time Zones” a problem.
However, around 1,000-5,000 people are living there, within a year, in Science and Research Stations. For research, time is a vital variable, and so brought forth is the necessity of a basis for time. For effective coordination, efficient communication, and innovative discovery, to lose the concept of time would make projects more difficult and perhaps, causing it to yield no successful outcomes.
This continent is outside the rational time constraints and thus acquired are unconventional but effective methods to establish a serviceable time zone. Therefore, in theory, any of the Earth’s time zones can be used there.
Antarctica has been split between different dominating countries over the years. The researchers, as its inhabitants, come from as far as India to the United States of America to Germany and Turkey. Back in their homelands, they have their time zones. In New Zealand with a Time Zone of GMT +12, people are slumbering at 2:27 a.m. In that very moment, a child in Argentina (GMT-3), is preparing his bag because it’s 11:28 a.m., moments before his lunchbreak.
Inside their stations, researchers are given the freedom to choose their operating time zone. Outside their base, a number of them utilize the time zone from where they live. At either pole, anyone can technically use any standard 24 hour time zone to determine the time.
In an area claimed by Norway, the Troll Research Station follows the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). UTC is a primary time standard & serves as a point from which other time zones are measured. It is also observed by many others and appears to be a preferred standard for keeping track of time.
The United States also has its funded operation in Antarctica: The Palmer Research Station. Because the US has no official territorial claims for ownership of Antarctica’s terrain, they are stationed on Chilean territory and make use of Chilean time. McMurdo Station follows New Zealand Standard Time (GMT +12) because their main supply base is in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Italian base, Mario Zucchelli Station, found in Terranova Bay, also follow New Zealand Standard Time.
Some research stations shift from one time zone to another. Norwegian Toll Research Station uses three time zones each year since 2005. In the Antarctic summer (Early November to late February), they used UTC to communicate with supplies providers. After so until late March, UTC +1 is used for a few weeks before transitioning to following UTC +2, known as the European Central Summer Time.
A researcher from one country with no affiliations with a scientist from another Research Station may use the time zone of their home country. Take this as an example: a Japanese researcher is situated in the Palmer Research Station of the US, but this station is on Chilean territory. To avoid confusion, this Japanese researcher can follow the time zone of Japan. This makes calling his mother, “Mom, I’m here in Antarctica!” a lot easier.
Daylight Saving Time, which helps people understand how to make better use of natural daylight and conserve energy, would be useless in Antarctica. Because of its extreme southern location, most of the area experiences in the winter, 24 hours of the night, and in the summer, 24 hours of summertime. This is applied in quite the same manner in Antarctica’s Northern counterpart, the Arctic (even if this continent is almost nothing but ice and water).
Demonstrated in these varying preferences are the complexity of having any business with Antarctica and its unusual time. However, this is no hindrance to the territorial claims of seven sovereign states and scientific research taking place in Antarctica. Whether the hurdles, whether it be the freezing cold temperatures or the atypical time, Antarctica will always be on time to amaze humanity!