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Antarctic A

Antarctic A

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Published by: Husain Manasawala on Oct 06, 2010
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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.[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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and our future. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. atmosphere and O-zone. 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).Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. Earth science. Antarctica. ice. present. magnetic movements. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. Two of them involves the whole world. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. Over Antarctica. . Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. But to do so. as a continent of wonder. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. The earth is slowly heating up. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. 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. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. aurora. The research of global climates. 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.

If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. 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. However. the dumping of waste oil. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. Why are the Poles so cold? . The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. 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 potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. which many believe it will be. 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 second reason is elevation. While the water is anything but warm. crew member Bill Dunn. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. Also. In comparison. As you go up in altitude. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. In addition. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. In fact. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. Thus. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. moderating temperatures somewhat. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise.3 km. or ice) stays there.html . since Antarctica is a giant landmass. Therefore. which is at sea level. In addition to being cold. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. it receives very little heat from the ocean. the air temperature decreases (by 6. it usually stays around 30° F.thinkquest. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. First. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. WHOI. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo.5C for each 1 km).Captain A. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. For instance. Colburn.org/28779/geography3. Photo by George Tupper. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. even in summer. http://library. right.D.

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

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

The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August.115 people from twenty-three different countries.046 people from sixteen countries. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. 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. radio broadcasting. singing. In the summer.. too. or the Internet. But there are other sources of entertainment. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. Antarctica has been preserved. . some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world. Antarctica has about 4. which is January... and having fun. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. In 1978. television. 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. which to some of us might be like murder. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone.. where no . Today.

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

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

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

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

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

About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet.6 km (1.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). The coastline measures 17.000 sq mi). It covers more than 14.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle.968 km (11. about 1. 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.0 mi) thick.000 km2 (5. making it the fifth-largest continent. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). 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. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. and Indian Oceans.400. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. If all of this ice were melted. alternatively. down to 20 mm (0.[19] In most of the interior of the continent. Atlantic. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. precipitation is very low.3 times as large as Europe. leading to a desiccated landscape.000. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. .

[1] Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons.[32] East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. 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.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. Second.2 °C (−128. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. in the Transantarctic Mountains. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. During summer. In the interior. ice there lasts for extended time periods. however. 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. on average. Mountain glaciation .[31] For comparison.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. At the edge of the continent. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. wind speeds are typically moderate. and temperature decreases with elevation. leaving the center cold and dry. 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. where snowfalls of up to 1. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. First.

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

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

Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable. Chinstrap. Species Adelie Population 2.Feb Gentoo Sept . lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan .including coastal islands . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. of 230 feet.Dec Nov .000 pairs Several 1.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec .Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.5 million pairs 200.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.000 pairs Aug . and Gentoo penguins.Oct Winter months Oct . Adelie.000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.Oct Oct . penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept .Jan Shore-feeding birds. Impressive and elegant in the water. 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.Oct Nov . remain at sea.Dec Nov . Their bodies are designed for swimming. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max.Nov Oct . rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.Dec Sept .

traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. During the 19th and 20th century. whales do not breed in the region. up to 2 hours 800.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. Thankfully. and Southern Right. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. today. Like seals. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. However. 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. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill.000 700. Fin. and the lack of polar bears.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . Humpback. . several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. Most of the their life is spent in water. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. Today.. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. inhabiting Sept . Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov .000 200. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . but seals must return to land to breed. and their numbers have continued to thrive. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. Minke.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft.Sept Birthing Month Dec .

their complex songs can last 20 min.000 50 ft. long 50 ft. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. long 25-30 ft.up octopus. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. long Diet Characteristics Krill. fish Krill.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. long 30 ft. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. Slow and easily hunted. long 80-90 ft. they krill. krill. birds. deepest diving mammal . fish.000 100.000 Only whale still hunted Krill.000 Several 100. Hunt in packs.000 Size 85-100 ft. squid. long .000 20. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal.00 thousand 4. fish. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. long 40-50 ft.

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