Snow or rain in Antarctica?

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Antarctica is the driest and coldest place on earth, with some areas receiving no rain or snow for millions of years. Dry valleys receive less than 0.4 inches of precipitation per year, and temperatures can reach -13 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2009, scientists tested equipment for Mars exploration in these areas. Antarctica also holds records for the coldest temperature and strongest winds on earth, and has the largest ice sheet. If it were to melt, sea levels would rise by 16 feet.

Antarctica, known as the coldest place on earth, is also the driest. Some areas of Antarctica have not seen rain or snow in millions of years. Although the average precipitation for the entire continent varies from 1.9 inches to over 7.8 inches (50 – 200 mm) per year, there are dry valleys that receive less than 0.4 inches (10.16 mm) per year. Even in these areas the temperatures are extremely cold. For example, -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 degrees Celsius) is the norm in December and January, which gets even colder due to strong winds. This means that although rainfall is low, the snow never really melts and these areas can look the same for millions of years. Survival in the dry valleys of Antarctica is nearly impossible, but it proved useful to scientists in 2009, who visited these parts to test scientific equipment for use on the surface of Mars. In dryness and cold, Antarctica is the most Mars-like place on earth. The average temperature on Mars is around -80 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 degrees Celsius).

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The coldest temperature ever recorded was at Vostok Station, Antarctica, in 1983, with a temperature of -128 degrees Fahrenheit (-89 degrees Celsius).
Antarctica is also the windiest place on earth. Sometimes the winds blow at 200 miles (320 kilometers) per hour.
Antarctica has the largest ice sheet on earth, and if it were to melt, sea levels around the world would rise an average of 16 feet (5 meters).

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