Why is the central time zone important

In a world where time rules, Antarctica remains free from the dictates of the clock and instead has a worry-free attitude to time. Since the Antarctic is on all longitudes in the world, theoretically all time zones flow together here. In reality, the continent remains far from rational time constraints and uses a highly unusual but effective method of free choice to make an operational one Time zone to be determined.

Does Antarctica have to obey a time zone?

Apart from researchers on expeditions, Antarctica is largely uninhabited. Therefore, there is no need to follow a specific time. The matter becomes even more complicated as there are extreme differences on the continent between short winter days and the endless daylight in summer. But loosely observing time is necessary for the practical coordination of tourism, scientific discovery, and communication with the world.

Which time zones apply in Antarctica?

Antarctica has been roughly divided between several world powers over the decades, and the temporary residents tend to work in their respective time zones. This is not always the case, however, because although seven countries have claimed a share of Antarctica, twelve time zones apply. In addition, the time zones in Antarctica are separated along irregular lines that, unlike usual, do not follow the latitudes [i].

Examples of different time zones in Antarctica

The Troll Research Station in the area claimed by Norway follows Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) [ii]. UTC is actually not a time zone, but a standard or point from which other time zones are measured. Nonetheless, UTC is recognized by much of Antarctica's central belt and appears to be one of the preferred standards for one Antarctic time zone to be.

Palmer Research Station is owned and funded by the United States. Since America has no official territorial claims on the continent, it operates this station on Chilean territory and therefore follows Chilean time. [iii] This makes sense geographically, but it also shows the complexity of the question of time zones in the region.

Researchers from a country not belonging to Antarctica often choose the time zone of their home country, even if they are in a station and an area that, under normal circumstances, conforms to a different standard [iv]. For example, German researchers who work in an American station in a region claimed by Australia can opt for the German time - provided they do not work with other nationalities. Why? It makes communicating with the home a lot easier.

Summertime in Antarctica

Summer time is not observed in Antarctica. In other countries, it helps to make better use of natural daylight, especially in the winter months. Given the extreme southern latitude of the region it would be for the Time zones in Antarctica it makes little sense to change the clock twice a year.

Time in Antarctica is a fluid concept with few rules that are regularly and arbitrarily disregarded. But in such a breathtakingly beautiful area with so few people, time is largely irrelevant. When in Antarctica, the best thing to do is to forget about the clocks and cherish the moment, no matter what the hour.


[i] https://io9.gizmodo.com/5977955/so-this-is-what-time-zones-look-like-in-antarctic
[ii] https://www.timeanddate.com/time/zone/antarctica
[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_claims_in_Antarctica
[iv] https://greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/antarctica/