http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/ipy07.sci.life.eco.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. Why are the Poles so cold? . If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. 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. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. 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.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. which many believe it will be. 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. the dumping of waste oil.

While the water is anything but warm. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth.3 km. Colburn.org/28779/geography3. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets.5C for each 1 km). There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. In comparison. Photo by George Tupper. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it.Captain A. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean.html . In addition to being cold. which is at sea level. First. it receives very little heat from the ocean. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. In fact. As you go up in altitude. moderating temperatures somewhat. the air temperature decreases (by 6. right. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it.D. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. it usually stays around 30° F. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. For instance. The second reason is elevation. Therefore. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. even in summer. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. In addition. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air.thinkquest. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. Also. WHOI. or ice) stays there. http://library. Thus. crew member Bill Dunn.

the sun that is just above the . 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.snow and frost. -89. and the driest place on Earth. the north and south poles directly come to our minds. and the lowest temperature ever. 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). the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. In the polar regions. windiest. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads.fall each year. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions.6 degrees C. Trapped in ice. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983.

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

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

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

glaciology. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. atmospheric sciences. It was built and finished in 1989.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. in front of Maitri. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. 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[1]. such as biology. meteorology. [edit] Milestones . earth sciences. cold region engineering. communication. 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. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. In 1991.

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

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

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

or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. and Indian Oceans. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. about 1. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle.400. . making it the fifth-largest continent. down to 20 mm (0. The coastline measures 17. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). If all of this ice were melted. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. leading to a desiccated landscape. precipitation is very low. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet.0 mi) thick.968 km (11. Atlantic. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base.6 km (1.8 in) per year.3 times as large as Europe.000.000 sq mi). 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 a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. alternatively.[19] In most of the interior of the continent. It covers more than 14. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).000 km2 (5.

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

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

To survive in the biting environment. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. 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. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. crustaceans. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica.000 pairs 1. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. During this time seals. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed .July Oct . Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. whales. and fish. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin.Oct Dec. spending the winter in more temperate climates. It holds the title of coldest. driest and windiest location on earth.Nov Birthing Month Feb . Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral.

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

these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. today. and Southern Right.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. and their numbers have continued to thrive. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. During the 19th and 20th century. However. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. Today. Minke. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic.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. Fin.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. Thankfully. Like seals.. up to 2 hours 800. Humpback. Most of the their life is spent in water. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s.000 700. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. .Sept Birthing Month Dec . inhabiting Sept .Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. whales do not breed in the region. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. but seals must return to land to breed.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov .000 200.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal.

fish Krill. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton.000 Several 100. deepest diving mammal . long 50 ft. long 25-30 ft.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. long 40-50 ft.00 thousand 4. their complex songs can last 20 min. Hunt in packs. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. long 30 ft. they krill.000 Size 85-100 ft. Slow and easily hunted.up octopus. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. birds.000 100. krill. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25.000 20. long Diet Characteristics Krill. long .000 50 ft. squid.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. long 80-90 ft. fish. fish. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750.

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