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discant/ INTRODUCTION Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean; alternatively, it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. It covers more than 14,000,000 km2 (5,400,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest continent, in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.It is about 1.3 times as large as Europe .About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland. There are no permanent human residents but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, seals, nematodes, Tardigrades, mites, many types of algae and other microorganisms, and tundra vegetation. PHYSICAL FEATURES The continent of Antarctica is made up of two regions: the East Antarctica (often called the Greater Antarctica) and the West Antarctica (or the Lesser Antarctica). Transantarctic Mountains - Crossing the entire continent, this mountain range consists of peaks that are 2000 to 4000 meters high, with it's highest peak
of Mt. Kirkpatrick(next to the Beardmore Glacier) standing 4530m tall. Running from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, it is 3500 km long and 100 to 300 km wide, and separates the continent of Antarctica into two regions. Dry valleys- The Transantarctic Mountain chain has the largest of the ice-free rocky areas known as dry valleys. They are found in the land near the McMurdo Cove across from the Ross Island. The foot of the valley is 0 to 500 meters above sea level and the surrounding peaks are 1500 to 2500 meters high. (A new mineral called Antarcticite, a form of calcium chloride(CaCl) crystal, was also found here.) East Antarctica- Having all the four important poles in Antarctica (South pole, South Magnetic pole, South Geomagnetic pole, Unreachable pole), East Antarctica covers more than half of the continent, and is mainly located in Eastern Longitudes. (The land here consists of rocks that are more than 570 million years old, making it one of the oldest rocks in the world.) The central region of Antarctica is a vast ice plateau about 3,000 meters above sea level. Bordering the plateau, the coast of East Antarctica is marked by mountains, valleys, and glaciers. To the north of the plateau lies the ranges of Kottas, Mulig Hoffman, Wolthat, Ser Rondane, Belgica, and the Yamato Moutains.
West Antarctica is a collection of islands. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland.) Volcanoes. Named after the reknowned explorers. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. (Coastal Waters. At least 10 of them are recognized today. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. held together by the ice cap. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). S-shaped land.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. like the Bransfield Strait. 60. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. and channels. Erebus on Ross Island. south of the peninsula. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. although only 2 are still active-. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the .West Antarctica.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. Deception Island (63.the Deception Island and Mt.0 degrees S. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline.
All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. a caldera having hot springs. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. precipitaion. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. Erebus(3. Near the waters the warmest month is January. and when the sun is low it cools down fast.are extreme compared to any part of the world.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. the word "extreme" could not be left out. Since Antarctica can not store heat. . the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate.Antarctica Peninsula. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. (Mt. wind. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere.
The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow .5 cm of precipitation each year. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. As the world's driest continent. it's the windiest continent. There are about nine blizzards a year . you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. it receives an average of 14. or known as the gravity wind to be formed.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. here it's only in form of snow. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore.As previously said.
seals.falling from a clear sky. 350 of them are lichens. and on the ground. And there aren't any trees there either. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. whales. because it has a beak. rocks. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. The mouth is inside its beak. It is different from most fish. . Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. The average ice fish is around two feet long. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. This little known creature. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. and the unique Antarctic Fish. very few plants live there. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. penguins. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. They consist of protozoans and small insects. and weighs around two and a half pounds. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice.
It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. seals and whales. Macaroni. Antarctica has many ocean animals. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . Krill is the main source of food for fish. Emperor. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. Krill are tiny. red. They are the Adelie. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. However. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. penguins. making them unable to fly. Rockhopper. Other Seabirds . birds. Chinstrap. Gentoo. and King. They measure about 1.
Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. leopard. The leopard seal is the most fierce.) These five species are the Weddel. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. the giant petrel. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. and the Dominican Gull. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. Ross.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic." However. the blue-eyed cormorant. the South Georgia pintail. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. And Whales . the wandering albatross. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. crabeater and elephant. and the South Georgia pipit. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. They eat only fish and squid. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. The fur seal is the last specie.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals.
Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. copper deposits were found. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. molybedenum. And the largest carnivore is the orca. manganese. lead. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. In the Antarctic Peninsula. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. coal. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. . and zinc were discovered. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. Baleen. or killer whale. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. The whales are split into two groups. petroleum. and Toothed. though none are in use. gold. iron. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today.
New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. Two of them involves the whole world. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. and our future. Over Antarctica. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. The earth is slowly heating up. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. Earth science. as a continent of wonder. But to do so. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. aurora. The research of global climates. .Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. we must never forget that it is infact a delicate continent which needs our support to remain as it is for many futures to come. ice. atmosphere and O-zone. present. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. Antarctica. magnetic movements.
However. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. Why are the Poles so cold? . The continent's usefulness as a scientific tool and international research station will continue to be taken advantage of and Antarctica will continue its important role in providing answers to the dilemma of climate change. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. the dumping of waste oil. which many believe it will be. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. An expected and dramatic increase in world demand for energy over the next 30 years may expose the continent to countries and markets looking for alternative petroleum supplies. Antarctica in the 21st Century Antarctica's serenely primitive wilderness faces an uncertain future as debate continues over the question of tapping into the continent's wealth of mineral resources.
the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. or ice) stays there. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. In fact. While the water is anything but warm. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground.5C for each 1 km). since Antarctica is a giant landmass. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise.Captain A. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. In addition. it usually stays around 30° F.thinkquest. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. The second reason is elevation.html . There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. Also. WHOI. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. For instance. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets.D. As you go up in altitude. even in summer. First. it receives very little heat from the ocean. Colburn. In comparison. which is at sea level. http://library. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. the air temperature decreases (by 6. crew member Bill Dunn. Therefore. Thus. right. In addition to being cold. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. moderating temperatures somewhat. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth.org/28779/geography3. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. Photo by George Tupper.3 km.
6 degrees C. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). windiest.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. But why are they cold? 1.fall each year. the sun that is just above the . was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. Trapped in ice. -89. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. and the lowest temperature ever. the north and south poles directly come to our minds. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. In the polar regions. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. and the driest place on Earth.snow and frost. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads.
As you near the poles. 3. the day and night gets even longer. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. But not here in the polar regions. When thinking about the global climate. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. Usually. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. Without them. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. In Antarctica. two important factors could never be left out. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. 2. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. Temperature of Antarctica .horizon is cooler. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. Since the ice is tremendously white. making the poles the coldest place on earth. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space.
singing. which is January. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world.. and having fun. which to some of us might be like murder. where no . Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. Today. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone.. . In 1978. Antarctica has about 4.. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica.046 people from sixteen countries. or the Internet. Antarctica has been preserved. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. In the summer. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. who come together from eighteen countries... Antarctica has approximately 1. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants. But there are other sources of entertainment. television. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. Emilio de Palma was the first baby ever born in Antarctica as noted in an investigation by the Argentinean Government to see if Antarctica was suitable for family life. too.115 people from twenty-three different countries. radio broadcasting. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round.
1959 and was put into action on June 23. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations.development would be permitted. the International Geographic Congress. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. XIII. but have retained the right to make a claim. and XIV must be constantly upheld. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. in 1959. that is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. but the land is still not under any country's rule. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. Chile. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. 1961.S. Australia. Articles XII. interpreted and amended by the member nations.C. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. . The U. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. and a peaceful status for the continent. France. In 1905. . Norway. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. and other nations do not have claims. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58.S. Argentina. President Dwight D. . met in London. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land.J. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". There are 42 member nations. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate.
 Milestones . communication. meteorology. glaciology. such as biology. human physiology and medicine. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. It was built and finished in 1989. atmospheric sciences. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. Contents [hide] • • • • • 1 Facilities 2 Milestones 3 Expeditions 4 External links 5 References  Facilities The station has modern facilities to carry out research in various disciplines. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. earth sciences. cold region engineering. in front of Maitri. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. In 1991. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation.
in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. including one to the Weddell Sea. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www.  Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa.html .Z. http://india. Qasim.gov. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built. where the first Wintering was conducted.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition.doe. So far.eia. Subsequently.India's commitment to polar science can be summarized by the following milestones: • • • • • • • 19 August 1983: India was admitted to the Antarctic Treaty and soon thereafter obtained Consultative Status. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent. It was led by S.
. was initiated in 1981. Communication at Maitri. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. institutes. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. In addition. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. universities. The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. has become fully operational at NCAOR. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. were also undertaken.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. The expeditions to Antarctica are organised every year by National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) an autonomous institution of the Ministry set up at Goa. three expeditions to the Southern Oceans for carrying out research in the thrust areas of polar science including a Weddel Sea Expedition and Krill Expedition for assessment of Krill Resources in Antarctic waters. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. Dakshin Gangotri Glacier has been monitored by Indian Scientists for the last 23 years An Ice Core Laboratory to study the ice cores brought from the Antarctica.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. Goa. Tele Seismic studies.
Geography Main article: Geography of Antarctica See also: Extreme points of Antarctica. and List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands A satellite composite image of Antarctica Elevation colorized relief Speed of ice streams . Antarctic territories.
If all of this ice were melted.3 times as large as Europe. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. making it the fifth-largest continent.000 sq mi). It covers more than 14. Atlantic. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative.6 km (1. precipitation is very low. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).968 km (11. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. 1983) Type Frequency Ice shelf (floating ice front) 44% Ice walls (resting on ground) 38% Ice stream/outlet glacier (ice front or ice wall) 13% Rock 5% Total 100% Maritime Antarctica Antarctica is divided in two by the Transantarctic Mountains close to the neck between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. and Indian Oceans. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). The coastline measures 17. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.8 in) per year.000 km2 (5.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. about 1. . down to 20 mm (0.000. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. In most of the interior of the continent. leading to a desiccated landscape. alternatively.0 mi) thick. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle.400. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base.
Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. ice there lasts for extended time periods. leaving the center cold and dry. more solar radiation reaches the surface during clear days at the South Pole than at the equator because of the 24 hours of sunlight each day at the Pole. Mountain glaciation . in the Transantarctic Mountains. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. wind speeds are typically moderate. however. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. Second. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. and temperature decreases with elevation. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. the Arctic Ocean covers the north polar zone: the ocean's relative warmth is transferred through the icepack and prevents temperatures in the Arctic regions from reaching the extremes typical of the land surface of Antarctica. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. For comparison. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. where snowfalls of up to 1. on average. At the edge of the continent.2 °C (−128. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. Temperatures reach a minimum of between −80 °C (−112 °F) and −90 °C (−130 °F) in the interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 5 °C (41 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) near the coast in summer. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. In the interior. During summer. First.
the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world.000 in winter to about 5. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. Antarctica has no government.000 in the summer. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. The aurora australis. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. commonly known as the southern lights. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. . HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. A sun dog. who are similarly rotated every year. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica.Given the latitude. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram.
000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. During this time seals. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. whales. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. driest and windiest location on earth. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent.July Oct . most seabirds tend to procreate in large. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed . Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. It holds the title of coldest. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. crustaceans. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. spending the winter in more temperate climates.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. To survive in the biting environment. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System.Nov Birthing Month Feb . Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed.Oct Dec. and fish. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F.000 pairs 1. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions.
remain at sea.Feb Gentoo Sept . lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore.Dec Sept .000 pairs Aug . Impressive and elegant in the water.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. and Gentoo penguins. resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.Oct Nov . penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species. Species Adelie Population 2. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. Their bodies are designed for swimming.Jan Shore-feeding birds.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.Oct Winter months Oct .Dec Nov . of 230 feet.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter.Dec Nov .Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Oct Oct . the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max.000 pairs Several 1. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. Chinstrap.Nov Oct . Adelie.000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept .5 million pairs 200. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird.including coastal islands .
today.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov .Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . . The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica.Sept Birthing Month Dec . whales do not breed in the region.. and the lack of polar bears. Minke. However. Today.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. During the 19th and 20th century. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. but seals must return to land to breed.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . Like seals.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. and their numbers have continued to thrive. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. up to 2 hours 800. Fin. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north.000 200. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. inhabiting Sept . Most of the their life is spent in water. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale.000 700. Humpback. Thankfully. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. and Southern Right. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer.
up octopus. long 80-90 ft. fish. they krill. Hunt in packs. deepest diving mammal . to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750.000 50 ft. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. birds. fish Krill. krill. their complex songs can last 20 min. squid. Slow and easily hunted. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. long 50 ft.000 Several 100.00 thousand 4. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. long Diet Characteristics Krill. long 25-30 ft. long 30 ft. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25.000 100. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. long 40-50 ft.000 Size 85-100 ft. fish. long .Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11.000 20.000 Only whale still hunted Krill.
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