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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

aurora.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. present. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. Earth science. and our future. Antarctica. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. as a continent of wonder. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. The research of global climates. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. The earth is slowly heating up. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. Over Antarctica. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). But to do so. Two of them involves the whole world. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. . 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. magnetic movements. ice. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. atmosphere and O-zone.

However. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. The continent's usefulness as a scientific tool and international research station will continue to be taken advantage of and Antarctica will continue its important role in providing answers to the dilemma of climate change. which many believe it will be. 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. Antarctica in the 21st Century Antarctica's serenely primitive wilderness faces an uncertain future as debate continues over the question of tapping into the continent's wealth of mineral resources. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. the dumping of waste oil. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. Why are the Poles so cold? . So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 .

The coastline measures 17.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle.000 km2 (5. 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. about 1. If all of this ice were melted.8 in) per year.[19] In most of the interior of the continent. precipitation is very low. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. leading to a desiccated landscape.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.000 sq mi). Atlantic. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.6 km (1. . making it the fifth-largest continent. and Indian Oceans. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).400. alternatively. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water).0 mi) thick. down to 20 mm (0. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. It covers more than 14.3 times as large as Europe.000. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base.968 km (11. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific.

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

[1] .000 in winter to about 5.000 in the summer. The aurora australis. A sun dog. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. commonly known as the southern lights. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. who are similarly rotated every year. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship.Given the latitude. Antarctica has no government. 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. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent.[33][34] 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. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation.[32] Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents.[50] the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally.

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

Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10.5 million pairs 200. Adelie. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive. Chinstrap.Dec Sept . While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.Feb Gentoo Sept . of 230 feet. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max.Jan Shore-feeding birds. by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. Impressive and elegant in the water.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept .Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec .Nov Oct . Species Adelie Population 2.000 pairs Several 1.000 pairs 7 million pairs 300. and Gentoo penguins.Dec Nov .including coastal islands . Their bodies are designed for swimming. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable. remain at sea.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan .only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Oct Winter months Oct .Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.Oct Oct .000 pairs Aug .Oct Nov .Dec Nov . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.

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

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