What time is it at the North Pole?

If you are standing at the convergence of all the longitudinal lines, what time zone would you be in? Link

I realize no one lives there, but Santa, so it really doesn’t matter (except to my kids). But suppose National Geographic has a base there and someone dies on the base. How does the doctor on board call the time of death if he’s supposed to use local time?

ETA: My apologies if this has been asked before. I tried to search but kept getting this: “Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 134217728 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 71 bytes) in /home/straightdope/boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/search.php”

I’d imagine they use GMT, like the astronauts do.

It’s always midnight, technically. Altough my WAG would be that you would go by GMT time as to not complicate things…

It’s all very complicated, and National Geographic does different things, but Santa has a very good timekeeping system.

It all depends on where in the plant that the poor elf died. Thankfully, as elves are very long lived, and fairly well kept, it doesn’t happen very long. The confusing part for all of them, however, is arriving to work on time, and properly documenting emergency call response times.

Some elves have as much as a 12 hour commute, as they pass through Toy Central, and happen to pass over the pole to their work location from home. For some reason, it’s been tough to get a full 8 hours out of them during a 24 hour day.

The North Pole is a point. Humans are three dimensional. No matter where the human died, it would physically be in a wedge on the surface of the earth that belonged to one of the time zones.

In reality, I believe explorers use Universal Time (UT). GMT is so 20th century.

Look, we should all just use metric time. The metric unit of time is the second. So everything should be measured from second zero, starting…now.

Now the time is 10s. After I watch Backyardigans with my daughter it will be 1.2ks. When the earth orbits the sun and returns to the same location next year the time will be 31 megaseconds. And so on.

Wait, let’s define second zero as the instant of the big bang. More science-y, you know?

Or all of them. Good point on UT, though.

When was the first zero? :stuck_out_tongue:

I think you’ll just pick any one time zone that makes sense and stick with it. I have no cite off hand, but I think I’ve read that the base at South Pole follows New Zealand time, because many of the people supporting them are in New Zealand and it makes things easier that way.

IIRC, in Pole to Pole, Michael Palin said when standing at the North Pole, “The time is…whatever you want it to be!”

I realize of course it was an entertaining introduction to a travelogue, but dammit, it was Michael Palin, so that’s good enough for me! :smiley:


Thissays GMT. Wikisays it hasn’t been settled.

This USA Today article from 2004 agrees that there isn’t an official one:


That article also confirms New Zealand time being used by the US Antarctic program because it is the convenient convention - most people flying there from the US take a final flight from Christchurch.

Or, if done right, all of them simultaneously.

His left leg died at 12:00, his left arm died the day before at 11:00, his right arm…

To further complicate things: There is no land mass at the North Pole. If you’re standing on the ice at that location, the ice itself is constantly in motion. It’s not like you can stick a big pole into the ice, and that marks the permanent location of the North Pole.

I believe in Santa’s case, the elves work in shifts, repositioning the pole for accuracy, using GPS.

Time to put on a jacket and get the hell out of there.

What time do you want it to be? There you are.

Miller Time.

Wouldn’t the International Date Line go through the North Pole? So what day would it be?

Actually, this is what prompted the original question. My kids were concerned that Santa might step over the international date line, get confused and accidentally deliver the presents a day late. They were pretty stressed about is so I made up a bullshit story that Santa has a special watch with International time (thank you Exapno Mapcase).