Antarctic A | Antarctica | Whales

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.[2] Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland.[3] 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 also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. Named after the reknowned explorers. 60.) Volcanoes. S-shaped land. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. and channels.0 degrees S. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. like the Bransfield Strait.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. south of the peninsula.West Antarctica. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland.the Deception Island and Mt. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. held together by the ice cap.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. (Coastal Waters. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . Deception Island (63. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). At least 10 of them are recognized today. Erebus on Ross Island. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. although only 2 are still active-.

when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. precipitaion. (Mt.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. a caldera having hot springs. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. . Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. Since Antarctica can not store heat.are extreme compared to any part of the world. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere.Antarctica Peninsula. the word "extreme" could not be left out.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. and when the sun is low it cools down fast. wind. Erebus(3. Near the waters the warmest month is January.

) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. it's the windiest continent.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. There are about nine blizzards a year . The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow . (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world.5 cm of precipitation each year. here it's only in form of snow. it receives an average of 14. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. As the world's driest continent.As previously said.

falling from a clear sky. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. The average ice fish is around two feet long. The mouth is inside its beak. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. whales. and weighs around two and a half pounds. It is different from most fish. and on the ground. very few plants live there. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. because it has a beak. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. rocks. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. . This little known creature. 350 of them are lichens. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. They consist of protozoans and small insects. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. and the unique Antarctic Fish. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. And there aren't any trees there either. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. penguins. seals.

Krill are tiny. Gentoo. birds. making them unable to fly. Krill is the main source of food for fish. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. However. penguins. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. They are the Adelie. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land. Macaroni. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. Emperor. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. Chinstrap. They measure about 1. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. Rockhopper. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. red. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. Antarctica has many ocean animals. Other Seabirds . out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. seals and whales. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. and King.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain.

They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. the South Georgia pintail. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. Ross. and the Dominican Gull. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. The fur seal is the last specie. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless." However.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. The leopard seal is the most fierce. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. and the South Georgia pipit. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. the giant petrel. the wandering albatross. the blue-eyed cormorant. And Whales .There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. They eat only fish and squid. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. crabeater and elephant. leopard.) These five species are the Weddel.

and Toothed. . There are several species making their home in Antarctica. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. though none are in use. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. manganese. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. molybedenum. Baleen. and zinc were discovered. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. gold. copper deposits were found. petroleum. In the Antarctic Peninsula. coal. iron. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. And the largest carnivore is the orca. lead. The whales are split into two groups. or killer whale.

and our future. Over Antarctica. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). Two of them involves the whole world. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. magnetic movements. ice. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. . But to do so. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. Earth science. Antarctica. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. atmosphere and O-zone. 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. as a continent of wonder.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. The research of global climates. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. The earth is slowly heating up. aurora. present.

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. 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 reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. Why are the Poles so cold? . which many believe it will be. 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. the dumping of waste oil. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. However. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills.

allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. Photo by George Tupper. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. crew member Bill Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. In addition. WHOI. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. In comparison. the air temperature decreases (by 6. While the water is anything but warm. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. First.thinkquest. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. even in summer.3 km. Also.html . This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. The second reason is elevation. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground.5C for each 1 km). moderating temperatures somewhat.Captain A. In fact. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. As you go up in altitude. For instance. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. In addition to being cold. Thus. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. or ice) stays there. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. it usually stays around 30° F. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. http://library. it receives very little heat from the ocean. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. which is at sea level.D. right. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. Colburn. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. Therefore.

Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. Trapped in ice. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. But why are they cold? 1. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. windiest. and the lowest temperature ever. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. the sun that is just above the . In the polar regions.6 degrees C.fall each year. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. and the driest place on Earth. -89.snow and frost. the north and south poles directly come to our minds.

When thinking about the global climate. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. As you near the poles. In Antarctica. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. But not here in the polar regions. Since the ice is tremendously white. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well.horizon is cooler. 2. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. Usually. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. Without them. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. making the poles the coldest place on earth. Temperature of Antarctica . two important factors could never be left out. the day and night gets even longer. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. 3. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it.

. Today. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone.. But there are other sources of entertainment. who come together from eighteen countries.. which is January.046 people from sixteen countries. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. Antarctica has approximately 1. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. where no . In 1978. and having fun.. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants.. which to some of us might be like murder. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. singing. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. television. 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. or the Internet.115 people from twenty-three different countries. too. . In the summer. Antarctica has been preserved. radio broadcasting. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. Antarctica has about 4.

26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U.development would be permitted. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. and a peaceful status for the continent. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. There are 42 member nations. . Articles XII. 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. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. and other nations do not have claims. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. Norway. France. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica.S. but the land is still not under any country's rule. XIII. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. . and XIV must be constantly upheld. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. The U. In 1905. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica.S. met in London. Chile. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. in 1959. Argentina." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research.C. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. Australia. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". the International Geographic Congress. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. 1959 and was put into action on June 23.J. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. . interpreted and amended by the member nations. 1961. President Dwight D. but have retained the right to make a claim.

after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91[1]. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. cold region engineering. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. in front of Maitri. [edit] Milestones . It was built and finished in 1989. In 1991. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. communication. such as biology. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. earth sciences. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. glaciology. meteorology. atmospheric sciences. Contents [hide] • • • • • 1 Facilities 2 Milestones 3 Expeditions 4 External links 5 References [edit] Facilities The station has modern facilities to carry out research in various disciplines. human physiology and medicine.

Qasim. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent. including one to the Weddell Sea.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. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www. where the first Wintering was conducted. It was led by S. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.html . Subsequently. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).eia. [edit] Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa.doe. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was So far. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched.

universities. has become fully operational at NCAOR. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. were also undertaken. 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. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. was initiated in 1981. The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. 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. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. Tele Seismic studies. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. Communication at Maitri. . Goa. In addition. 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. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. institutes.

and List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands A satellite composite image of Antarctica Elevation colorized relief Speed of ice streams . Antarctic territories.Geography Main article: Geography of Antarctica See also: Extreme points of Antarctica.

because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. down to 20 mm (0. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. The coastline measures 17. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. 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. . Atlantic. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean.6 km (1. making it the fifth-largest continent.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. and Indian Oceans. alternatively. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). leading to a desiccated landscape.0 mi) thick.000.000 km2 (5. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. It covers more than 14. about 1. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry.8 in) per year. precipitation is very low. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.[19] In most of the interior of the continent. If all of this ice were melted.3 times as large as Europe.400.968 km (11.000 sq mi).

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. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. Mountain glaciation . Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell.2 °C (−128. leaving the center cold and dry. ice there lasts for extended time periods. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. In the interior. 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. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. At the edge of the continent. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. and temperature decreases with elevation.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. First.[1] Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. on average.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. where snowfalls of up to 1.[31] For comparison. Second.[32] East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. 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. wind speeds are typically moderate. however. in the Transantarctic Mountains. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. During summer.

000 in the summer. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. The aurora australis. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. who are similarly rotated every year. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. Antarctica has no government. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. commonly known as the southern lights. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation.[33][34] Politics Designed by Graham Bartram. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. A sun dog.Given the latitude.[50] the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1.[1] . An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests.000 in winter to about 5.[32] Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world.

and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions.Nov Birthing Month Feb . It holds the title of coldest. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. driest and windiest location on earth.Oct Dec. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. and fish. During this time seals. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts.000 pairs 1. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph.July Oct . Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. whales. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. spending the winter in more temperate climates. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. crustaceans. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed .000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . To survive in the biting environment.

000 pairs Aug .only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.Dec Nov .000 pairs Several 1.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.Dec Nov . Their bodies are designed for swimming. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. Impressive and elegant in the water.Oct Oct .000 pairs 7 million pairs 300. remain at sea.Oct Winter months Oct .Oct Nov . Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.Jan Shore-feeding birds. Chinstrap. Adelie. by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. of 230 feet.Nov Oct .000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.including coastal islands . the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. and Gentoo penguins.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.Feb Gentoo Sept .5 million pairs 200.Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan . They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable. Species Adelie Population 2.Dec Sept .

they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. During the 19th and 20th century.. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. Most of the their life is spent in water.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. Fin. and the lack of polar bears. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov .Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. Like seals. and their numbers have continued to thrive. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. .000 700.000 200.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug .Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. Today. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. up to 2 hours 800. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. Thankfully. whales do not breed in the region. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. Humpback.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. However. and Southern Right. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. but seals must return to land to breed. today.Sept Birthing Month Dec . inhabiting Sept . Minke. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale.

up octopus. fish. their complex songs can last 20 min. long 80-90 ft. long 50 ft.000 100. Slow and easily hunted.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. long 40-50 ft. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. long .000 Several 100. deepest diving mammal .000 Only whale still hunted Krill. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25.000 20.00 thousand 4. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. long 30 ft. birds. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. they krill. fish Krill. fish. Hunt in packs. long 25-30 ft. squid. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish.000 Size 85-100 ft. krill. long Diet Characteristics Krill.000 50 ft.

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