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discant/ INTRODUCTION Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean; alternatively, it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. It covers more than 14,000,000 km2 (5,400,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest continent, in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.It is about 1.3 times as large as Europe .About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland. There are no permanent human residents but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, seals, nematodes, Tardigrades, mites, many types of algae and other microorganisms, and tundra vegetation. PHYSICAL FEATURES The continent of Antarctica is made up of two regions: the East Antarctica (often called the Greater Antarctica) and the West Antarctica (or the Lesser Antarctica). Transantarctic Mountains - Crossing the entire continent, this mountain range consists of peaks that are 2000 to 4000 meters high, with it's highest peak
of Mt. Kirkpatrick(next to the Beardmore Glacier) standing 4530m tall. Running from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, it is 3500 km long and 100 to 300 km wide, and separates the continent of Antarctica into two regions. Dry valleys- The Transantarctic Mountain chain has the largest of the ice-free rocky areas known as dry valleys. They are found in the land near the McMurdo Cove across from the Ross Island. The foot of the valley is 0 to 500 meters above sea level and the surrounding peaks are 1500 to 2500 meters high. (A new mineral called Antarcticite, a form of calcium chloride(CaCl) crystal, was also found here.) East Antarctica- Having all the four important poles in Antarctica (South pole, South Magnetic pole, South Geomagnetic pole, Unreachable pole), East Antarctica covers more than half of the continent, and is mainly located in Eastern Longitudes. (The land here consists of rocks that are more than 570 million years old, making it one of the oldest rocks in the world.) The central region of Antarctica is a vast ice plateau about 3,000 meters above sea level. Bordering the plateau, the coast of East Antarctica is marked by mountains, valleys, and glaciers. To the north of the plateau lies the ranges of Kottas, Mulig Hoffman, Wolthat, Ser Rondane, Belgica, and the Yamato Moutains.
(West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. like the Bransfield Strait. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. 60.West Antarctica. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. Named after the reknowned explorers. At least 10 of them are recognized today. and channels. Deception Island (63. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. Erebus on Ross Island.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . although only 2 are still active-.the Deception Island and Mt. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. south of the peninsula. (Coastal Waters.0 degrees S. S-shaped land. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean).) Volcanoes. held together by the ice cap.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous.
In the middle of the island is Foster Bay.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. and when the sun is low it cools down fast. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. Near the waters the warmest month is January. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. wind.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. the word "extreme" could not be left out. Since Antarctica can not store heat. Erebus(3. . and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind.Antarctica Peninsula. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. (Mt. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. a caldera having hot springs. precipitaion.are extreme compared to any part of the world.
(Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. here it's only in form of snow. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. it receives an average of 14. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm.5 cm of precipitation each year. it's the windiest continent. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow . Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. As the world's driest continent. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. There are about nine blizzards a year . Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts.As previously said.
Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds.falling from a clear sky. . The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. And there aren't any trees there either. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. whales. penguins. 350 of them are lichens. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. very few plants live there. rocks. seals. They consist of protozoans and small insects. and weighs around two and a half pounds. The average ice fish is around two feet long. and the unique Antarctic Fish. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. It is different from most fish. The mouth is inside its beak. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. This little known creature. because it has a beak. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. and on the ground.
Macaroni. making them unable to fly. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. However.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. and King. Rockhopper. Gentoo. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. Krill are tiny.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. Emperor. Krill is the main source of food for fish. birds. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. Chinstrap. Antarctica has many ocean animals. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. penguins. They are the Adelie. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. seals and whales. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. They measure about 1. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. red. Other Seabirds .
" However. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. leopard. the South Georgia pintail. and the South Georgia pipit. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. The leopard seal is the most fierce. the wandering albatross. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. and the Dominican Gull. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. They eat only fish and squid. the blue-eyed cormorant. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. (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. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. crabeater and elephant.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth.) These five species are the Weddel. The fur seal is the last specie. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. Ross.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. And Whales . the giant petrel.
molybedenum. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. though none are in use. and zinc were discovered. or killer whale. manganese. lead. iron. copper deposits were found. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. . In the Antarctic Peninsula. petroleum. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. Baleen. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. gold. and Toothed. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. And the largest carnivore is the orca. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. The whales are split into two groups. coal. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium.
atmosphere and O-zone. 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. . The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. magnetic movements. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. ice. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). Antarctica. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. present. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. and our future. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. aurora. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. Two of them involves the whole world. Earth science. Over Antarctica. The earth is slowly heating up. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. But to do so. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. The research of global climates. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex.
The continent's usefulness as a scientific tool and international research station will continue to be taken advantage of and Antarctica will continue its important role in providing answers to the dilemma of climate change. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. which many believe it will be. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. Why are the Poles so cold? . Antarctica in the 21st Century Antarctica's serenely primitive wilderness faces an uncertain future as debate continues over the question of tapping into the continent's wealth of mineral resources. the dumping of waste oil. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. However. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. 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. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas.
There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. Colburn. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. it receives very little heat from the ocean. While the water is anything but warm. even in summer. or ice) stays there. Therefore. which is at sea level. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air.D. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. http://library. WHOI.html . In comparison. In fact. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. First. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. As you go up in altitude. it usually stays around 30° F.thinkquest. the air temperature decreases (by 6. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. The second reason is elevation. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice.5C for each 1 km). the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. Thus. In addition to being cold. In addition.org/28779/geography3. Photo by George Tupper. crew member Bill Dunn. Also. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. right. moderating temperatures somewhat.Captain A. For instance.3 km. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean.
Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. In the polar regions. Trapped in ice. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. -89. But why are they cold? 1.snow and frost. and the lowest temperature ever. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. the sun that is just above the . Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). and the driest place on Earth. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. the north and south poles directly come to our minds.fall each year. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth.6 degrees C.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. windiest.
Temperature of Antarctica . They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. 2. two important factors could never be left out. But not here in the polar regions. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. the day and night gets even longer. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. 3. Without them. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. In Antarctica. When thinking about the global climate. Since the ice is tremendously white. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever.horizon is cooler. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. making the poles the coldest place on earth. Usually. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. As you near the poles. instead of absorbing the sun's energy.
singing. which is January. which to some of us might be like murder.. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty.115 people from twenty-three different countries. radio broadcasting. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. Today. Antarctica has been preserved. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world.046 people from sixteen countries. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. .. In the summer. who come together from eighteen countries. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. too. television.. But there are other sources of entertainment. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone. or the Internet. Antarctica has about 4. Antarctica has approximately 1... The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants. and having fun. 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 is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. In 1978. where no .
Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. the International Geographic Congress. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. The U." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research.C. and other nations do not have claims. Australia. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. Chile. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. 1961. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. In 1905.S.development would be permitted. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. . and XIV must be constantly upheld. Norway. . and a peaceful status for the continent. Argentina. XIII. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. . interpreted and amended by the member nations. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". 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. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U. 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. but have retained the right to make a claim. Articles XII. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. but the land is still not under any country's rule. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. in 1959. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. President Dwight D. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds.J. 1959 and was put into action on June 23. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.S. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. There are 42 member nations. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. France. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. met in London.
a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. meteorology. cold region engineering. human physiology and medicine. such as biology. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. earth sciences. atmospheric sciences. It was built and finished in 1989.  Milestones . It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. 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. glaciology. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. communication. In 1991. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. in front of Maitri.
Subsequently.gov.eia.doe.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www.html . including one to the Weddell Sea. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition. So far. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. where the first Wintering was conducted. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built. http://india.Z. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched.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. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. Qasim. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition.  Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa. It was led by S. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research.
were also undertaken. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. Goa. was initiated in 1981. The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. has become fully operational at NCAOR. .500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. Tele Seismic studies. universities. 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. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. Communication 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. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. In addition.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. 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. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. institutes.
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 .
Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.6 km (1. about 1. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry.0 mi) thick. leading to a desiccated landscape. Atlantic.000 km2 (5.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.400. The coastline measures 17. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. It covers more than 14. making it the fifth-largest continent. alternatively.000 sq mi).3 times as large as Europe. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. . In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. If all of this ice were melted.968 km (11.000. precipitation is very low. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative.8 in) per year. down to 20 mm (0. 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. and Indian Oceans. In most of the interior of the continent. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian.
and temperature decreases with elevation.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. where snowfalls of up to 1. In the interior. wind speeds are typically moderate. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. leaving the center cold and dry.2 °C (−128. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. For comparison. Second. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. 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. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. on average. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. in the Transantarctic Mountains. 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. ice there lasts for extended time periods. At the edge of the continent. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. First. Mountain glaciation . the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. however.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. 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.
It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. Antarctica has no government. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. 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. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent.000 in the summer. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation.000 in winter to about 5. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. A sun dog. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. . The aurora australis. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. commonly known as the southern lights.Given the latitude. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. who are similarly rotated every year.
You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts.Oct Dec. spending the winter in more temperate climates.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed .Nov Birthing Month Feb . The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed.July Oct . Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. and fish. During this time seals. It holds the title of coldest.000 pairs 1. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. crustaceans. whales. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. driest and windiest location on earth. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. To survive in the biting environment.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent.
They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.Dec Sept .Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions .Feb Gentoo Sept .Dec Nov .Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10.000 pairs Aug . sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife. remain at sea. Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Jan Shore-feeding birds.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept .000 pairs Several 1. Species Adelie Population 2. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. Impressive and elegant in the water. Chinstrap. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan . Their bodies are designed for swimming. Adelie.including coastal islands . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.Oct Nov . penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.Oct Winter months Oct . only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird.Nov Oct . of 230 feet. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. and Gentoo penguins.Dec Nov . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec .Oct Oct .000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.5 million pairs 200.
Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. whales do not breed in the region. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. However.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. inhabiting Sept . Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . up to 2 hours 800.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . today. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. Most of the their life is spent in water. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. Humpback. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. but seals must return to land to breed. Fin. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. Today. During the 19th and 20th century.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. .Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities.. and the lack of polar bears. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. Like seals. Minke. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. and their numbers have continued to thrive.000 700.000 200.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov .Sept Birthing Month Dec . several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. Thankfully. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. and Southern Right. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov .
fish. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. Slow and easily hunted. deepest diving mammal . fish. Hunt in packs. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750.000 Several 100. long 40-50 ft.000 Size 85-100 ft. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. long 50 ft. krill. squid. their complex songs can last 20 min.000 Only whale still hunted Krill.000 20.000 100. long 80-90 ft. fish Krill. long 25-30 ft. they krill. long . birds. long 30 ft. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. long Diet Characteristics Krill.up octopus.000 50 ft.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11.00 thousand 4. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton.
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