This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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.
although only 2 are still active-. 60. and channels. At least 10 of them are recognized today.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . south of the peninsula. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. Deception Island (63. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire.) Volcanoes.West Antarctica. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. S-shaped land. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow.0 degrees S. Named after the reknowned explorers. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. held together by the ice cap. like the Bransfield Strait.the Deception Island and Mt. Erebus on Ross Island.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. (Coastal Waters. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline.
The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. . All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. wind. precipitaion. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. (Mt.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. a caldera having hot springs. Near the waters the warmest month is January.Antarctica Peninsula. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. the word "extreme" could not be left out. and when the sun is low it cools down fast. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. Since Antarctica can not store heat.are extreme compared to any part of the world. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. Erebus(3. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate.
Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. 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. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. As the world's driest continent. it's the windiest continent. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. here it's only in form of snow.As previously said. it receives an average of 14. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow .5 cm of precipitation each year. There are about nine blizzards a year .
Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. whales. and the unique Antarctic Fish. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. very few plants live there. . There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. and weighs around two and a half pounds. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze.falling from a clear sky. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. seals. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. rocks. because it has a beak. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. The mouth is inside its beak. They consist of protozoans and small insects. It is different from most fish. The average ice fish is around two feet long. and on the ground. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. And there aren't any trees there either. 350 of them are lichens. penguins. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. This little known creature.
Macaroni. Other Seabirds . The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. However. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. Rockhopper. seals and whales. Chinstrap. birds. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. They measure about 1. Gentoo. and King. red. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. Krill are tiny. They are the Adelie. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . The Antarctic waters are filled with them. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. Krill is the main source of food for fish. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. penguins. Emperor. making them unable to fly. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. Antarctica has many ocean animals.
) These five species are the Weddel. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. the giant petrel. the blue-eyed cormorant. the South Georgia pintail.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. And Whales . Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. They eat only fish and squid." However. leopard. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. The leopard seal is the most fierce. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. Ross. The fur seal is the last specie. and the Dominican Gull. the wandering albatross. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. and the South Georgia pipit. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. crabeater and elephant.
coal. copper deposits were found. . gold. The whales are split into two groups. molybedenum. manganese. Baleen. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. petroleum.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. And the largest carnivore is the orca. In the Antarctic Peninsula. though none are in use. 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. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. and zinc were discovered. and Toothed. lead. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. iron. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. or killer whale.
is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. ice. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. present. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. Over Antarctica. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. magnetic movements. The research of global climates. aurora. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. 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. as a continent of wonder. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. Two of them involves the whole world. atmosphere and O-zone. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. But to do so. . Antarctica.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. and our future. The earth is slowly heating up.
the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. Why are the Poles so cold? . the dumping of waste oil. which many believe it will be.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. 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. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. However. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. 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. 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. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities.
Photo by George Tupper. moderating temperatures somewhat. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. Therefore. it receives very little heat from the ocean. crew member Bill Dunn. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. While the water is anything but warm. For instance. The second reason is elevation.Captain A.3 km.D. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry.5C for each 1 km).org/28779/geography3. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. even in summer. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. WHOI. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. In comparison. or ice) stays there. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise.html . it usually stays around 30° F.thinkquest. which is at sea level. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. As you go up in altitude. In fact. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. 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. http://library. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. In addition. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. Colburn. right. Also. In addition to being cold. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. First. Thus.
-89.6 degrees C. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year).snow and frost. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. and the driest place on Earth. the north and south poles directly come to our minds. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round.fall each year. Trapped in ice. In the polar regions. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. the sun that is just above the . and the lowest temperature ever. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. But why are they cold? 1. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. windiest.
horizon is cooler. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. 2. Since the ice is tremendously white. Temperature of Antarctica . 3. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. Usually. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. In Antarctica. the day and night gets even longer. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. As you near the poles. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. But not here in the polar regions. When thinking about the global climate. two important factors could never be left out. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. Without them. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. 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. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. making the poles the coldest place on earth. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever.
Antarctica has about 4.. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. who come together from eighteen countries.115 people from twenty-three different countries. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants.. which is January.046 people from sixteen countries. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world.. television. where no . Antarctica has approximately 1. which to some of us might be like murder. Emilio de Palma was the first baby ever born in Antarctica as noted in an investigation by the Argentinean Government to see if Antarctica was suitable for family life.. too. and having fun. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. But there are other sources of entertainment.. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. Today. In the summer. . or the Internet. singing. radio broadcasting. Antarctica has been preserved. In 1978. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment.
J. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". but have retained the right to make a claim. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U.C. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. met in London. . These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. Chile. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. the International Geographic Congress. 1961. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1.S. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. The U. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. 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. Australia. France. Norway. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. and a peaceful status for the continent. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom.S. President Dwight D. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. but the land is still not under any country's rule. There are 42 member nations.development would be permitted. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. . Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. interpreted and amended by the member nations. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. . Argentina. In 1905. and XIV must be constantly upheld. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. and other nations do not have claims. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. Articles XII. 1959 and was put into action on June 23. in 1959. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. XIII. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration.
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. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. earth sciences. In 1991. communication. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. human physiology and medicine. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. glaciology. It was built and finished in 1989. atmospheric sciences.  Milestones . such as biology. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. in front of Maitri.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. meteorology. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. cold region engineering. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future.
where the first Wintering was conducted.  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. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. http://india.India's commitment to polar science can be summarized by the following milestones: • • • • • • • 19 August 1983: India was admitted to the Antarctic Treaty and soon thereafter obtained Consultative Status. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’. including one to the Weddell Sea. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.gov. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean.doe. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition.html . Qasim.eia.Z. It was led by S. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Subsequently. So far. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built.
ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. was initiated in 1981. Communication at Maitri. has become fully operational at NCAOR. universities. 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. institutes. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. 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. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. were also undertaken. Tele Seismic studies. Goa. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. In addition. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. The expeditions to Antarctica are organised every year by National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) an autonomous institution of the Ministry set up at Goa.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories.
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 .
. If all of this ice were melted.400. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. 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.000 km2 (5. precipitation is very low.000. It covers more than 14. alternatively. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. and Indian Oceans. Atlantic.0 mi) thick. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. leading to a desiccated landscape. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. making it the fifth-largest continent. In most of the interior of the continent. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.6 km (1. The coastline measures 17. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.968 km (11. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific.8 in) per year.000 sq mi). About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. 1983) Type Frequency Ice shelf (floating ice front) 44% Ice walls (resting on ground) 38% Ice stream/outlet glacier (ice front or ice wall) 13% Rock 5% Total 100% Maritime Antarctica Antarctica is divided in two by the Transantarctic Mountains close to the neck between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. down to 20 mm (0. about 1.3 times as large as Europe. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water).
In the interior. For comparison. where snowfalls of up to 1. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. Mountain glaciation . ice there lasts for extended time periods. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.2 °C (−128. on average. 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. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. At the edge of the continent.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. however. First.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. leaving the center cold and dry. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. in the Transantarctic Mountains. and temperature decreases with elevation. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. Second. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. wind speeds are typically moderate.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. 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. 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. During summer.
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. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. The aurora australis. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. commonly known as the southern lights. . Antarctica has no government. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon.Given the latitude. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. 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. A sun dog.000 in winter to about 5. Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. who are similarly rotated every year. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals.
Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed . The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F.Nov Birthing Month Feb . most seabirds tend to procreate in large. 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. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. crustaceans. To survive in the biting environment. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. During this time seals. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. whales. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. and fish. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. driest and windiest location on earth. spending the winter in more temperate climates.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System.Oct Dec.000 pairs 1.July Oct . with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. It holds the title of coldest.
Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. Adelie.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . and Gentoo penguins. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive. of 230 feet. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.000 pairs Aug . Impressive and elegant in the water. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions .Oct Oct .Oct Winter months Oct . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore.Nov Oct .Dec Nov .Dec Sept .Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. remain at sea.including coastal islands . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan .000 pairs Several 1.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.5 million pairs 200.Jan Shore-feeding birds. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max.000 pairs 7 million pairs 300. Their bodies are designed for swimming. Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph. Species Adelie Population 2. Chinstrap. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor.Dec Nov .Oct Nov .Feb Gentoo Sept .
Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. Most of the their life is spent in water. Like seals. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. Today. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. today. . Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. and their numbers have continued to thrive.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. but seals must return to land to breed. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . and the lack of polar bears. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer.Sept Birthing Month Dec . and Southern Right.000 700. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. During the 19th and 20th century. up to 2 hours 800. whales do not breed in the region. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. Thankfully.000 200. Minke. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. inhabiting Sept .Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. However. Fin.. Humpback. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s.
00 thousand 4.000 Several 100. long 25-30 ft. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. deepest diving mammal . birds. fish. fish. long 50 ft.000 Size 85-100 ft. krill. long 30 ft.000 50 ft. Hunt in packs. long 80-90 ft. Slow and easily hunted. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. long 40-50 ft. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. squid. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25.up octopus.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. long Diet Characteristics Krill. fish Krill. long . their complex songs can last 20 min.000 20. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. they krill.000 100.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?