Why is the Arctic cold? The main factor affecting climate and weather, including temperature, is the Arctic's latitude and its position relative to the sun.

The sun's rays hit the poles at an oblique angle. This means that, in the Arctic, less solar energy reaches any given area of land,
compared to the same area closer to the equator.

The amount of solar energy reaching any point on the earth depends mostly on the height of the sun in the sky. Closer to the equator, the sun's rays strike this planet more "head-on", providing intense heat. But, during an Arctic summer, the sun only climbs halfway "up" the sky. At that angle, its rays are spread over a greater area of the earth and are less intense because they have a longer path through the atmosphere than at the equator.

Gases and particles in the atmosphere reflect much of the short-wave solar energy back into space.