Average Weather in December in McMurdo Station Antarctica
Daily high temperatures increase by 5°F, from 28°F to 33°F, rarely falling below 22°F or exceeding 38°F.
Daily low temperatures increase by 5°F, from 20°F to 25°F, rarely falling below 13°F or exceeding 31°F.
For reference, on January 5, the hottest day of the year, temperatures in McMurdo Station typically range from 25°F to 33°F, while on August 10, the coldest day of the year, they range from -18°F to -9°F.
Average High and Low Temperature in December
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the hourly average temperatures for the quarter of the year centered on December. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature in December
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Barrow, Alaska, United States (10,421 miles away); Clyde River, Canada (11,346 miles); and Tiksi, Russia (10,455 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to McMurdo Station (view comparison).
The month of December in McMurdo Station experiences essentially constant cloud cover, with the percentage of time that the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy remaining about 44% throughout the month. The lowest chance of overcast or mostly cloudy conditions is 42% on December 13.
The clearest day of the month is December 13, with clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy conditions 58% of the time.
For reference, on August 4, the cloudiest day of the year, the chance of overcast or mostly cloudy conditions is 70%, while on December 13, the clearest day of the year, the chance of clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy skies is 58%.
Cloud Cover Categories in December
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. In McMurdo Station, the chance of a wet day over the course of December is essentially constant, remaining around 2% throughout.
For reference, the year's highest daily chance of a wet day is 3% on February 10, and its lowest chance is 0% on August 4.
Probability of Precipitation in December
We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. As with rainfall, we consider the liquid-equivalent snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day.
The average sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall during December in McMurdo Station is essentially constant, remaining about 0.1 inches throughout, and rarely exceeding 0.4 inches or falling below -0.0 inches.
The highest average 31-day liquid-equivalent accumulation is 0.1 inches on December 25.
Average Monthly Liquid-Equivalent Snowfall in December
Due to its extreme latitude, McMurdo Station experiences polar day (also known as the midnight Sun) during the summer and polar night during the winter. These are periods of time in which the sun is continuously above or below the horizon for more than one day. The precise start and end dates of polar day and night vary from year to year and depend on the precise location and elevation of the observer, and the local topography.
In the summer in McMurdo Station during 2020, the Sun is continuously above the horizon for 3.9 months, rising at 1:37 AM on October 23, and not setting again until 1:14 AM on February 21. As such, the sun is continuously above the horizon for the entire month of December.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight in December
Daylight saving time is observed in McMurdo Station during 2020, but it neither starts nor ends during December, so the entire month is in daylight saving time.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight in December
The figure below presents a compact representation of key lunar data for December 2020. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the colored areas indicate when the moon is above the horizon. The vertical gray bars (new Moons) and blue bars (full Moons) indicate key Moon phases. The label associated with each bar indicates the date and time that the phase is obtained, and the companion time labels indicate the rise and set times of the Moon for the nearest time interval in which the moon is above the horizon.
Moon Rise, Set & Phases in December
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The chance that a given day will be muggy in McMurdo Station is essentially constant during December, remaining around 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels in December
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in McMurdo Station is decreasing during December, decreasing from 9.0 miles per hour to 7.6 miles per hour over the course of the month.
For reference, on June 1, the windiest day of the year, the daily average wind speed is 15.0 miles per hour, while on December 29, the calmest day of the year, the daily average wind speed is 7.6 miles per hour.
The lowest daily average wind speed during December is 7.6 miles per hour on December 30.
Average Wind Speed in December
The hourly average wind direction in McMurdo Station throughout December is predominantly from the south, with a peak proportion of 71% on December 1.
Wind Direction in December
McMurdo Station is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average surface water temperature in McMurdo Station is essentially constant during December, remaining around 29°F throughout.
Average Water Temperature in December
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
Temperatures in McMurdo Station are sufficiently cold year round that it is not entirely meaningful to discuss the growing season in these terms. We nevertheless include the chart below as an illustration of the distribution of temperatures experienced throughout the year.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in December
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
The average accumulated growing degree days in McMurdo Station are essentially constant during December, remaining around 0°F throughout.
Growing Degree Days in December
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy in McMurdo Station is essentially constant during December, remaining within 0.3 kWh of 8.2 kWh throughout.
The highest average daily incident shortwave solar energy during December is 8.5 kWh on December 18.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in December
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of McMurdo Station are -77.846 deg latitude, 166.676 deg longitude, and 446 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of McMurdo Station contains very significant variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 965 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 214 feet. Within 10 miles also contains very significant variations in elevation (1,342 feet). Within 50 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (12,244 feet).
The area within 2 miles of McMurdo Station is covered by artificial surfaces (0%), within 10 miles by artificial surfaces (0%), and within 50 miles by artificial surfaces (0%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in McMurdo Station, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There is only a single weather station, Williams Field, in our network suitable to be used as a proxy for the historical temperature and dew point records of McMurdo Station.
At a distance of 4 kilometers from McMurdo Station, closer than our threshold of 150 kilometers, this station is deemed sufficiently nearby to be relied upon as our primary source for temperature and dew point records.
The station records are corrected for the elevation difference between the station and McMurdo Station according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
Please note that the station records themselves may additionally have been back-filled using other nearby stations or the MERRA-2 reanalysis.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for airports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.