What is the North Pole’s time zone called?

What is the North Pole’s time zone called?
What is the North Pole’s time zone called?

Every location on the planet is in a time zone, right? Well, no. Not exactly. You see, there are two places on this planet with no time zone; the North Pole and the South Pole. The North Pole is the more intriguing of the two. So, what is the North Pole’s time zone called?

The North Pole doesn’t have a time zone. It doesn’t have a name. This is because all of the world’s time zones (all 24 of them) converge on the North Pole. When you are at the top of the planet, you are not in any one time zone. You are in 24 of them at once. The time zone is whatever you wish to call it.

Let’s explain a bit, shall we? We know that it can be a bit confusing for some people. In fact, it was confusing for us the first time we heard of how the North Pole’s time zones worked. 

What Is The North Pole’s Time Zone Called?

In order to understand why the North Pole doesn’t have a defined time zone, it is important to understand how time zones were created.

Time zones stem from the position of the sun in the sky, well sort of. There is the tracking of a few other celestial bodies. However, most people know that the sun is in its highest position at midday, then as it starts to move down toward the sunset, you know that the day is wearing on.  All of the world’s time zones have been created based on observatory observations in the UK way back in the 1800s. Things have changed slightly since then, but not so much. You don’t need to know how time zones are calculated today. All you need to know is that the UK is in UTC+0, and every other time zone is an offset of this i.e. UTC+1 would be an hour ahead, and UTC-1 would be an hour behind.

So, this brings us back to the North Pole. All of those time zones have to converge at some point. The places where the sun doesn’t set nor rise. It just stays in the sky. That’s the North Pole. Every one of the 24 time zones on the planet links up right on the North Pole.

This means that the North Pole is in every single time zone at once. It has no official time zone, because there is no way to determine what the time is. If you stood at the North Pole, and somebody stood mere meters from you, the time zone that they are standing in could be hours behind your time zone.

Generally speaking, most of the people that do head up to the North Pole will try and operate in their own time zone. For example, a British person heading to the North Pole may use UTC+0 as their time zone, and a person heading to the North Pole from France may use UTC+1, although there isn’t really a massive agreement on what should be done.

Does the South Pole Have a Time Zone?

We can’t mention the North Pole without mentioning the South Pole, though. This is because the South Pole also has the same issues as the North Pole i.e. all the time zones converge on a single point.

However, the South Pole has something that the North Pole doesn’t have a whole lot of research stations. While there are some research stations up there at the North Pole, most of them tend not to be near the actual magnetic North. This means that they each exist in their own time zone. It is easy to know (roughly) what the time is. However, the South Pole is different. The South Pole has countless research stations, all pretty close to the magnetic south pole.

Now, don’t get us wrong. The South Pole still doesn’t have its own time zone. It exists in all of them at once. However, each research station has come up with its own time system, and the lighting/working times are based on that time system. These time systems tend to be based on whichever country owns the research station.

This means that, in the South Pole, you have the following time zones, depending on where you are:

  • Palmer (UTC-3)
  • Rothera (UTC-3)
  • Troll (UTC+0)
  • Syowa (UTC+3)
  • Mawson (UTC+5)
  • Vostok (UTC+6)
  • Davis (UTC+7)
  • Casey (UTC+11)
  • Dumont-d’Urville (UTC+10)
  • Macquarie Island (UTC+10)
  • New Zealand (UTC+11)

No other continent on the planet has this many time zones!

Does The North Pole Have Daylight Saving Time?

No. The North Pole does not have DST, because it doesn’t have an official time zone. The time zone is whatever you want to call it. So, if you were at the North Pole and decided that it was DST, then it would be DST. We are sure that many of the explorers that have headed to the North Pole have used DST. 

The South Pole, on the other hand, does have DST. At least in some of the research bases. The South Pole doesn’t need DST since the sun never sets (nor rises, depending on the time of the year), but the researchers like to keep their time closely linked with the time zones back home. So, you may find that many of the research bases will be switching their clocks forward or back an hour, depending on the time of the year. However, this is more due to human nature than any practical purpose. 

Final Thoughts 

There is no name for the North Pole’s time zone because, technically, the North Pole sits in every single time zone at exactly the same time. When researchers and explorers head to the North Pole, they tend to use their own time zone. So, the time zone is whatever you want it to be. The same applies to the South Pole (although, some regions do have defined time zones, for research purposes). 

Similar Topics 

Time Zones

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!