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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.
The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. south of the peninsula. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. At least 10 of them are recognized today. 60. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica.) Volcanoes. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica.the Deception Island and Mt. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. Deception Island (63. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. like the Bransfield Strait.0 degrees S. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). Erebus on Ross Island. and channels. Named after the reknowned explorers. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the .West Antarctica is a collection of islands.West Antarctica. S-shaped land. (Coastal Waters. although only 2 are still active-. held together by the ice cap. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere.are extreme compared to any part of the world. precipitaion. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. Erebus(3. wind. a caldera having hot springs.Antarctica Peninsula. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. the word "extreme" could not be left out.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. Near the waters the warmest month is January. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. (Mt. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. Since Antarctica can not store heat. and when the sun is low it cools down fast. .794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim.
5 cm of precipitation each year. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow . These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. it's the windiest continent. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts.As previously said. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. As the world's driest continent. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. here it's only in form of snow.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. There are about nine blizzards a year . (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore. it receives an average of 14.
whales. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. They consist of protozoans and small insects. The mouth is inside its beak. . The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. The average ice fish is around two feet long. seals. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. 350 of them are lichens. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. because it has a beak. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. It is different from most fish. and weighs around two and a half pounds. And there aren't any trees there either. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. rocks. Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. and on the ground. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. This little known creature. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. penguins. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. and the unique Antarctic Fish. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. very few plants live there. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice.falling from a clear sky. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life.
Other Seabirds . However. making them unable to fly.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. They measure about 1. Macaroni. They are the Adelie. Emperor. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. Krill are tiny. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . seals and whales. Antarctica has many ocean animals. Chinstrap. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. birds. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. and King. Krill is the main source of food for fish. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. red. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. penguins. Rockhopper. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. Gentoo. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land.
and the Dominican Gull. the South Georgia pintail. leopard." However.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. crabeater and elephant. Ross. the wandering albatross.) These five species are the Weddel.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. The fur seal is the last specie. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. And Whales .Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. the giant petrel. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. They eat only fish and squid. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. and the South Georgia pipit. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. The leopard seal is the most fierce. the blue-eyed cormorant.
copper deposits were found. coal. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. or killer whale. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. And the largest carnivore is the orca. petroleum. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. manganese. Baleen. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. . and zinc were discovered. gold. In the Antarctic Peninsula. and Toothed. lead. The whales are split into two groups. molybedenum. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. iron. though none are in use.
The earth is slowly heating up. Two of them involves the whole world. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. as a continent of wonder. 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.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. aurora. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. But to do so. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. magnetic movements. and our future. present. Earth science. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. ice. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. Antarctica. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. Over Antarctica. The research of global climates. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. 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). .
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. 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. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. However. the dumping of waste oil. Why are the Poles so cold? . 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.
http://library. or ice) stays there. In addition.5C for each 1 km). While the water is anything but warm. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. Therefore. Also. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean.Captain A. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. For instance. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. In comparison. In addition to being cold. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold.D. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. moderating temperatures somewhat. Colburn. even in summer. the air temperature decreases (by 6. The second reason is elevation. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. In fact. First. Photo by George Tupper. it receives very little heat from the ocean. right. which is at sea level. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air.html .3 km.org/28779/geography3. crew member Bill Dunn. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. it usually stays around 30° F.thinkquest. As you go up in altitude. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. WHOI. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. Thus. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air.
Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. and the driest place on Earth.fall each year. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. the sun that is just above the . the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). In the polar regions.6 degrees C. and the lowest temperature ever. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. -89. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions.snow and frost. the north and south poles directly come to our minds. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. Trapped in ice. But why are they cold? 1. windiest.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least.
the day and night gets even longer. 3. But not here in the polar regions. Temperature of Antarctica . making the poles the coldest place on earth. Usually. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. When thinking about the global climate.horizon is cooler. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. As you near the poles. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. In Antarctica. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. 2. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. 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. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. Without them. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. two important factors could never be left out. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer.
. . Antarctica has approximately 1. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. which to some of us might be like murder.115 people from twenty-three different countries. But there are other sources of entertainment. singing. which is January. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world. In 1978. who come together from eighteen countries.. television. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. radio broadcasting. 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. or the Internet.. Antarctica has about 4.. and having fun. Today. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone.046 people from sixteen countries. too. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. In the summer. Antarctica has been preserved. where no . The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants..
Norway. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. in 1959. . Argentina. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds.J. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. President Dwight D. 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. the International Geographic Congress. Articles XII. There are 42 member nations. Australia. In 1905. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. 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. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. but the land is still not under any country's rule. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land.development would be permitted. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. met in London.C. France. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. . . Chile. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. and other nations do not have claims. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". 1959 and was put into action on June 23. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals.S. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. XIII. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. and a peaceful status for the continent. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place.S. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. but have retained the right to make a claim. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. interpreted and amended by the member nations. 1961. The U. and XIV must be constantly upheld.
glaciology. cold region engineering. earth sciences. in front of Maitri. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. atmospheric sciences. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. 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. In 1991. human physiology and medicine. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. It was built and finished in 1989. such as biology.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini.  Milestones . meteorology. communication.
Qasim. It was led by S. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. including one to the Weddell Sea.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica.eia.doe. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).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. Subsequently.html . where the first Wintering was conducted. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research. So far. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition.Z. http://india. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www.  Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent.gov. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).
Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. .Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. 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. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. Tele Seismic studies. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. Communication at Maitri. institutes. has become fully operational at NCAOR. Goa. universities. In addition. 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. 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.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. was initiated in 1981. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. 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.
Antarctic territories. and List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands A satellite composite image of Antarctica Elevation colorized relief Speed of ice streams .Geography Main article: Geography of Antarctica See also: Extreme points of Antarctica.
165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.968 km (11. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. and Indian Oceans. alternatively. 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. leading to a desiccated landscape. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. In most of the interior of the continent.000 km2 (5.0 mi) thick. 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. . If all of this ice were melted.3 times as large as Europe.000. 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. making it the fifth-largest continent.400. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).000 sq mi). or by the southern waters of the World Ocean.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. The coastline measures 17. It covers more than 14.6 km (1. Atlantic. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. about 1. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet.8 in) per year.
Second. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. 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.2 °C (−128. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. wind speeds are typically moderate. leaving the center cold and dry. First. For comparison. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. Mountain glaciation . Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. At the edge of the continent. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. 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. 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.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. ice there lasts for extended time periods. During summer. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. where snowfalls of up to 1. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. on average. however. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. In the interior. 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. in the Transantarctic Mountains. and temperature decreases with elevation.
 .000 in the summer. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. The aurora australis.Given the latitude. Antarctica has no government. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. who are similarly rotated every year. A sun dog. commonly known as the southern lights.000 in winter to about 5. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. 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. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims.
Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. During this time seals. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph.Oct Dec. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. whales.000 pairs 1. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. crustaceans. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. and fish. It holds the title of coldest. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed . most seabirds tend to procreate in large.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec .Nov Birthing Month Feb . spending the winter in more temperate climates.July Oct . There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. To survive in the biting environment. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. driest and windiest location on earth.
of 230 feet.000 pairs Aug . Adelie.Dec Nov .000 pairs 7 million pairs 300. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive. Chinstrap. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers.Oct Winter months Oct . Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Jan Shore-feeding birds. Their bodies are designed for swimming.Feb Gentoo Sept .Oct Nov .Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.000 pairs Several 1.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. remain at sea.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan . They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max.5 million pairs 200.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird.Dec Nov .Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec .Dec Sept . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.including coastal islands . Impressive and elegant in the water. and Gentoo penguins. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.Nov Oct . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . Species Adelie Population 2.Oct Oct .
During the 19th and 20th century. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. Humpback. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. whales do not breed in the region.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . and their numbers have continued to thrive. Today. but seals must return to land to breed. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. 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. Most of the their life is spent in water. Fin. and the lack of polar bears. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. However.Sept Birthing Month Dec .000 200. inhabiting Sept . traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. up to 2 hours 800. Like seals. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. . and Southern Right.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. today. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction.. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. Thankfully. Minke.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale.000 700.
Slow and easily hunted. birds. long 30 ft.000 Size 85-100 ft.000 20. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. long 50 ft. fish. they krill. squid. Hunt in packs. fish. deepest diving mammal . long 40-50 ft. long Diet Characteristics Krill.up octopus.000 Several 100.000 50 ft.00 thousand 4. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. their complex songs can last 20 min. long 80-90 ft. fish Krill. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish.000 100. long . krill.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. long 25-30 ft.
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