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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An expected and dramatic increase in world demand for energy over the next 30 years may expose the continent to countries and markets looking for alternative petroleum supplies. The continent's usefulness as a scientific tool and international research station will continue to be taken advantage of and Antarctica will continue its important role in providing answers to the dilemma of climate change. Antarctica in the 21st Century Antarctica's serenely primitive wilderness faces an uncertain future as debate continues over the question of tapping into the continent's wealth of mineral resources. which many believe it will be. 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. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. Why are the Poles so cold? . natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. the dumping of waste oil. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. However.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. institutes. Communication at Maitri. was initiated in 1981.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. Dakshin Gangotri Glacier has been monitored by Indian Scientists for the last 23 years An Ice Core Laboratory to study the ice cores brought from the Antarctica. In addition. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. 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. 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. Goa. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. were also undertaken. has become fully operational at NCAOR. . So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. Tele Seismic studies. universities.

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 .

.968 km (11.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.000 sq mi). a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.8 in) per year. It covers more than 14. about 1. 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. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific.0 mi) thick.[19] In most of the interior of the continent.6 km (1.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. Atlantic.000. The coastline measures 17. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. making it the fifth-largest continent. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. precipitation is very low. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). down to 20 mm (0. If all of this ice were melted. alternatively.400. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). leading to a desiccated landscape.000 km2 (5. and Indian Oceans. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base.3 times as large as Europe. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian.

where snowfalls of up to 1. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. In the interior. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. First. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. leaving the center cold and dry. more solar radiation reaches the surface during clear days at the South Pole than at the equator because of the 24 hours of sunlight each day at the Pole. wind speeds are typically moderate. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. however. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level.[1] Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. Second. At the edge of the continent. and temperature decreases with elevation. in the Transantarctic Mountains.[32] East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. Mountain glaciation . on average.[31] For comparison. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.2 °C (−128. ice there lasts for extended time periods. During summer.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. 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. 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.

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

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

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

. During the 19th and 20th century..Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. up to 2 hours 800.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. Like seals. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. However. Thankfully. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. Minke.Sept Birthing Month Dec . The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. Fin. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer.000 700. whales do not breed in the region. today.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. inhabiting Sept .Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. but seals must return to land to breed. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. Most of the their life is spent in water. and the lack of polar bears. and Southern Right.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. Today.000 200. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. and their numbers have continued to thrive. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. Humpback. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov .

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