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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.
which includes the Antarctic Peninsula.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the .) Volcanoes. Deception Island (63. and channels. Erebus on Ross Island. (Coastal Waters. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica.0 degrees S. Named after the reknowned explorers. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. like the Bransfield Strait. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). held together by the ice cap. At least 10 of them are recognized today. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire.West Antarctica. although only 2 are still active-.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline.the Deception Island and Mt. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. south of the peninsula. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. 60. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. S-shaped land.
the word "extreme" could not be left out. Near the waters the warmest month is January. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay.are extreme compared to any part of the world. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. .794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica.Antarctica Peninsula. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. (Mt. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. a caldera having hot springs. and when the sun is low it cools down fast.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. Since Antarctica can not store heat. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. wind. Erebus(3. precipitaion. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica.
A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. There are about nine blizzards a year . it's the windiest continent. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore. here it's only in form of snow. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. it receives an average of 14. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. As the world's driest continent. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face.5 cm of precipitation each year.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form.As previously said. 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. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow .
making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. because it has a beak. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left.falling from a clear sky. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. The mouth is inside its beak. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. The average ice fish is around two feet long. very few plants live there. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. . And there aren't any trees there either. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. rocks. It is different from most fish. This little known creature. whales. and the unique Antarctic Fish. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. seals. Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. and weighs around two and a half pounds. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. and on the ground. They consist of protozoans and small insects. 350 of them are lichens. penguins.
Emperor. birds. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. They measure about 1. Antarctica has many ocean animals. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. Krill are tiny. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land. Macaroni. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. Krill is the main source of food for fish. Chinstrap. penguins. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. and King. They are the Adelie. red. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . Gentoo. However. Other Seabirds . making them unable to fly.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. seals and whales. Rockhopper. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming.
the giant petrel. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. and the Dominican Gull.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth." However. leopard. The fur seal is the last specie. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. They eat only fish and squid. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. the South Georgia pintail. the wandering albatross. Ross.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. the blue-eyed cormorant. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. crabeater and elephant. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. And Whales .) These five species are the Weddel. and the South Georgia pipit. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. The leopard seal is the most fierce. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua.
And the largest carnivore is the orca. though none are in use. and zinc were discovered. manganese. copper deposits were found. iron. or killer whale. molybedenum. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. gold. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. . Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. and Toothed. petroleum. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. lead. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. Baleen. In the Antarctic Peninsula. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. The whales are split into two groups. coal.
atmosphere and O-zone. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. Two of them involves the whole world. ice. Over Antarctica. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. Antarctica. But to do so. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. 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. as a continent of wonder. present. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). . magnetic movements. aurora.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. The research of global climates. Earth science. 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. and our future. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica.
The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. 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. 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 Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. 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.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? . However. the dumping of waste oil. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. which many believe it will be. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills.
Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. which is at sea level. it usually stays around 30° F. Thus. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. Photo by George Tupper. In addition to being cold. For instance. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. In comparison.5C for each 1 km). Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. even in summer.org/28779/geography3. Colburn. right. 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 air temperature decreases (by 6. The second reason is elevation.Captain A. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. First. Therefore. Also. moderating temperatures somewhat. As you go up in altitude.3 km. In fact. WHOI. or ice) stays there.thinkquest. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. http://library. crew member Bill Dunn. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice.D. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. since Antarctica is a giant landmass.html . it receives very little heat from the ocean. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. While the water is anything but warm. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. In addition. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day.
windiest. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least.snow and frost.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. In the polar regions.6 degrees C. the sun that is just above the .fall each year. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. Trapped in ice. -89. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). and the lowest temperature ever. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. But why are they cold? 1. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. and the driest place on Earth. the north and south poles directly come to our minds.
Since the ice is tremendously white. In Antarctica. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. 2.horizon is cooler. 3. But not here in the polar regions. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. two important factors could never be left out. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. Without them. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. the day and night gets even longer. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. As you near the poles. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. Temperature of Antarctica . They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. When thinking about the global climate. Usually. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. making the poles the coldest place on earth.
Antarctica has been preserved. But there are other sources of entertainment.. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. singing. Antarctica has about 4.. or the Internet.. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world. Today.115 people from twenty-three different countries. 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. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants. where no . . the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. which is January. who come together from eighteen countries. In the summer.. too. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica.046 people from sixteen countries. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone. Antarctica has approximately 1. which to some of us might be like murder. In 1978. radio broadcasting.. and having fun. television.
. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. and XIV must be constantly upheld. 1961. Norway. Chile. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". interpreted and amended by the member nations. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. . There are 42 member nations.C. and other nations do not have claims. and a peaceful status for the continent. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. The U. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. the International Geographic Congress. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. 1959 and was put into action on June 23. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. but the land is still not under any country's rule." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. . Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. but have retained the right to make a claim. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. 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. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. Australia.J. met in London. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. Argentina. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. Articles XII.S. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U.development would be permitted. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. President Dwight D. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. XIII. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. In 1905. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. in 1959. France.S.
It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. cold region engineering. 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. It was built and finished in 1989. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. earth sciences. In 1991. communication. in front of Maitri. human physiology and medicine. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. atmospheric sciences. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. such as biology.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91.  Milestones . meteorology. glaciology.
php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.doe. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent. Qasim.Z.eia.html . where the first Wintering was conducted. It was led by S.gov. Subsequently. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. So far. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. 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.  Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built. http://india.
The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. were also undertaken. has become fully operational at NCAOR. 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. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. Goa. 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. institutes. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. Tele Seismic studies. . survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. was initiated in 1981. Communication at Maitri. universities. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. 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. In addition.
Antarctic territories.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 .
as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. down to 20 mm (0.8 in) per year.0 mi) thick. It covers more than 14.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. making it the fifth-largest continent. leading to a desiccated landscape.000 sq mi). in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. about 1.6 km (1. and Indian Oceans.968 km (11. alternatively. Atlantic.000 km2 (5. In most of the interior of the continent. If all of this ice were melted.400. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.3 times as large as Europe. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. . precipitation is very low. The coastline measures 17. 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.000.
At the edge of the continent. For comparison.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. In the interior. however. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. 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. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. in the Transantarctic Mountains. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. and temperature decreases with elevation. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. 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 . strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force.2 °C (−128.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. 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. leaving the center cold and dry. on average.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. During summer. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. wind speeds are typically moderate. First. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. where snowfalls of up to 1. ice there lasts for extended time periods. Second.
 Politics Designed by Graham Bartram.Given the latitude. commonly known as the southern lights. 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 sun dog. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. Antarctica has no government. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions.000 in the summer. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. who are similarly rotated every year. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment.000 in winter to about 5. The aurora australis. . Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world.
July Oct .Nov Birthing Month Feb . 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. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. driest and windiest location on earth. It holds the title of coldest. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. and fish.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed .000 pairs 1. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica.Oct Dec. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. To survive in the biting environment. During this time seals. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. whales. spending the winter in more temperate climates. crustaceans. most seabirds tend to procreate in large.
lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan . Impressive and elegant in the water. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers.000 pairs Several 1. Species Adelie Population 2.Dec Nov . the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. of 230 feet. Adelie.Oct Nov . Chinstrap. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . Their bodies are designed for swimming.Nov Oct . and Gentoo penguins.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec .Dec Nov .000 pairs 7 million pairs 300. resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.Jan Shore-feeding birds.Dec Sept .000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.000 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.Oct Winter months Oct .000 pairs Aug . Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Feb Gentoo Sept .Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. remain at sea.Oct Oct .including coastal islands .5 million pairs 200. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor.
whales do not breed in the region. Thankfully. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . up to 2 hours 800. today. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. Minke.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. and Southern Right. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen.000 700. During the 19th and 20th century. and their numbers have continued to thrive.000 200.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . However. Most of the their life is spent in water. 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. Today. but seals must return to land to breed. Humpback. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north..Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. and the lack of polar bears. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. inhabiting Sept . many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. Like seals. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. Fin.Sept Birthing Month Dec .
and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500.00 thousand 4.000 100. long Diet Characteristics Krill. fish.000 Only whale still hunted Krill.up octopus. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. Slow and easily hunted.000 50 ft. long 25-30 ft. Hunt in packs. deepest diving mammal . squid. fish. long 80-90 ft. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. long 30 ft. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid.000 Size 85-100 ft. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal.000 20. they krill. long 50 ft. their complex songs can last 20 min. fish Krill. long . birds.000 Several 100. long 40-50 ft. krill.
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