This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
discant/ INTRODUCTION Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean; alternatively, it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. It covers more than 14,000,000 km2 (5,400,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest continent, in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.It is about 1.3 times as large as Europe .About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland. There are no permanent human residents but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, seals, nematodes, Tardigrades, mites, many types of algae and other microorganisms, and tundra vegetation. PHYSICAL FEATURES The continent of Antarctica is made up of two regions: the East Antarctica (often called the Greater Antarctica) and the West Antarctica (or the Lesser Antarctica). Transantarctic Mountains - Crossing the entire continent, this mountain range consists of peaks that are 2000 to 4000 meters high, with it's highest peak
of Mt. Kirkpatrick(next to the Beardmore Glacier) standing 4530m tall. Running from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, it is 3500 km long and 100 to 300 km wide, and separates the continent of Antarctica into two regions. Dry valleys- The Transantarctic Mountain chain has the largest of the ice-free rocky areas known as dry valleys. They are found in the land near the McMurdo Cove across from the Ross Island. The foot of the valley is 0 to 500 meters above sea level and the surrounding peaks are 1500 to 2500 meters high. (A new mineral called Antarcticite, a form of calcium chloride(CaCl) crystal, was also found here.) East Antarctica- Having all the four important poles in Antarctica (South pole, South Magnetic pole, South Geomagnetic pole, Unreachable pole), East Antarctica covers more than half of the continent, and is mainly located in Eastern Longitudes. (The land here consists of rocks that are more than 570 million years old, making it one of the oldest rocks in the world.) The central region of Antarctica is a vast ice plateau about 3,000 meters above sea level. Bordering the plateau, the coast of East Antarctica is marked by mountains, valleys, and glaciers. To the north of the plateau lies the ranges of Kottas, Mulig Hoffman, Wolthat, Ser Rondane, Belgica, and the Yamato Moutains.
(Coastal Waters. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. Named after the reknowned explorers. although only 2 are still active-.West Antarctica. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . south of the peninsula. Deception Island (63. 60. and channels. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. S-shaped land.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. Erebus on Ross Island.the Deception Island and Mt. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean).) Volcanoes. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. like the Bransfield Strait.0 degrees S. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. At least 10 of them are recognized today. held together by the ice cap.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains.
Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. precipitaion. Since Antarctica can not store heat. wind. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. . Near the waters the warmest month is January. a caldera having hot springs.are extreme compared to any part of the world. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February.Antarctica Peninsula. the word "extreme" could not be left out. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. and when the sun is low it cools down fast. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. (Mt. Erebus(3.
The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. here it's only in form of snow. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow .Many explorers have been lost in blizzards.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. it's the windiest continent. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica.As previously said. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind. As the world's driest continent. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. There are about nine blizzards a year . These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. it receives an average of 14. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world.5 cm of precipitation each year. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each 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.
Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. and the unique Antarctic Fish. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. This little known creature. rocks. whales. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. . and weighs around two and a half pounds. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. penguins. because it has a beak. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. And there aren't any trees there either. very few plants live there. and on the ground. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. They consist of protozoans and small insects. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. The mouth is inside its beak. 350 of them are lichens. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. It is different from most fish. The average ice fish is around two feet long. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. seals.falling from a clear sky. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica.
Gentoo. birds. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. Macaroni. and King. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. They measure about 1. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land. 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. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. 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. penguins.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. making them unable to fly. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . Chinstrap. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. However. Krill is the main source of food for fish. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. Krill are tiny. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. They are the Adelie. red. Antarctica has many ocean animals. seals and whales.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. Other Seabirds . Emperor. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. Rockhopper.
the South Georgia pintail. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. crabeater and elephant. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. leopard. the wandering albatross.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. the blue-eyed cormorant.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. The fur seal is the last specie.) 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." However. And Whales . They eat only fish and squid. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. and the South Georgia pipit. and the Dominican Gull. the giant petrel. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. Ross. The leopard seal is the most fierce.
In the Antarctic Peninsula. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. and Toothed. coal. though none are in use. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. copper deposits were found. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. or killer whale. petroleum. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. .Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. manganese. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. lead. and zinc were discovered. And the largest carnivore is the orca. molybedenum. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. The whales are split into two groups. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. Baleen. gold. iron.
The research of global climates. The earth is slowly heating up. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. magnetic movements. ice. But to do so. and our future. 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. aurora. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. 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. present. . there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. Two of them involves the whole world. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. Antarctica. atmosphere and O-zone. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. Over Antarctica. Earth science. as a continent of wonder. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica.
So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. However. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. 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. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. the dumping of waste oil. Why are the Poles so cold? . If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. 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. 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 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.
crew member Bill Dunn. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. Colburn. In addition. For instance.Captain A. Thus. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. it receives very little heat from the ocean. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. The second reason is elevation. In fact.5C for each 1 km). The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. In comparison.thinkquest. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo.org/28779/geography3. right. While the water is anything but warm. First. WHOI. As you go up in altitude. Therefore. http://library. Photo by George Tupper. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. which is at sea level. moderating temperatures somewhat.3 km. Also. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air.html . This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it.D. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. the air temperature decreases (by 6. or ice) stays there. even in summer. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. In addition to being cold. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. it usually stays around 30° F. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air.
and the lowest temperature ever. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round.snow and frost.6 degrees C. But why are they cold? 1. Trapped in ice. windiest. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. In the polar regions. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. the sun that is just above the . the north and south poles directly come to our minds. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year).fall each year. and the driest place on Earth. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. -89. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions.
As you near the poles. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. Temperature of Antarctica .horizon is cooler. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. In Antarctica. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. two important factors could never be left out. When thinking about the global climate. Usually. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. Since the ice is tremendously white. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. 3. making the poles the coldest place on earth. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. the day and night gets even longer. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. 2. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. Without them. But not here in the polar regions.
Today. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. and having fun. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. In the summer. radio broadcasting.. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. Antarctica has been preserved. who come together from eighteen countries. Antarctica has approximately 1. or the Internet.. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. In 1978. Antarctica has about 4.. television. 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.. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. where no .115 people from twenty-three different countries. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world. singing. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. which is January. .046 people from sixteen countries. But there are other sources of entertainment.. too. which to some of us might be like murder.
Norway. and XIV must be constantly upheld. There are 42 member nations. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. and a peaceful status for the continent. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. interpreted and amended by the member nations. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. 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. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate.C. Australia.S." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. . Argentina. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. Chile. President Dwight D. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. and other nations do not have claims. but the land is still not under any country's rule. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. in 1959.development would be permitted. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U. The U. XIII. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. 1961. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.S. . France. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. In 1905. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. but have retained the right to make a claim. met in London. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. 1959 and was put into action on June 23. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. the International Geographic Congress. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. . There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. Articles XII.J. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds.
earth sciences. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. communication. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. 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. human physiology and medicine. atmospheric sciences. cold region engineering. In 1991. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis.  Milestones . in front of Maitri. such as biology. It was built and finished in 1989. glaciology. meteorology.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation.
1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’.gov. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built.eia. including one to the Weddell Sea. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).  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.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.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.Z.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. Subsequently. 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. It was led by S. So far. Qasim.doe.html . http://india.
The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. In addition. was initiated in 1981. were also undertaken. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. Tele Seismic studies.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. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. institutes. 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. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. Communication at Maitri. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. 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. . has become fully operational at NCAOR. Goa. universities.
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.
If all of this ice were melted. down to 20 mm (0. alternatively. 1983) Type Frequency Ice shelf (floating ice front) 44% Ice walls (resting on ground) 38% Ice stream/outlet glacier (ice front or ice wall) 13% Rock 5% Total 100% Maritime Antarctica Antarctica is divided in two by the Transantarctic Mountains close to the neck between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry.000 km2 (5. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. Atlantic.400.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.0 mi) thick. about 1.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica 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.6 km (1. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.000 sq mi). The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. making it the fifth-largest continent. It covers more than 14. and Indian Oceans. . leading to a desiccated landscape. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. The coastline measures 17.968 km (11. In most of the interior of the continent. precipitation is very low. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet.000. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative.3 times as large as Europe.8 in) per year.
Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. and temperature decreases with elevation. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. During summer. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. For comparison.2 °C (−128. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. more solar radiation reaches the surface during clear days at the South Pole than at the equator because of the 24 hours of sunlight each day at the Pole. wind speeds are typically moderate.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. Second. ice there lasts for extended time periods. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. 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. in the Transantarctic Mountains. leaving the center cold and dry. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. where snowfalls of up to 1. 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. on average. In the interior. however. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. Mountain glaciation . First. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. At the edge of the continent. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent.
A sun dog. The aurora australis. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. who are similarly rotated every year. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals.000 in winter to about 5. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. . although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. Antarctica has no government. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. 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. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. commonly known as the southern lights. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram.000 in the summer.Given the latitude. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. symbolizing the continent's neutrality.
During this time seals. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. It holds the title of coldest. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. driest and windiest location on earth. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed .July Oct . You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. crustaceans. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow.000 pairs 1. and fish. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. To survive in the biting environment. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System.Oct Dec. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. spending the winter in more temperate climates. whales.Nov Birthing Month Feb . Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica.
Chinstrap.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers.000 pairs 7 million pairs 300. of 230 feet.000 pairs Several 1.Jan Shore-feeding birds. and Gentoo penguins. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.Feb Gentoo Sept .Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica. Impressive and elegant in the water.Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.including coastal islands .Oct Nov . Their bodies are designed for swimming. Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Dec Nov . the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. Species Adelie Population 2.5 million pairs 200. Adelie. remain at sea.Oct Winter months Oct .Dec Nov . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions .Oct Oct . rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. 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 .000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.Nov Oct .000 pairs Aug .Dec Sept . sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.
the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. and the lack of polar bears. Thankfully.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. Most of the their life is spent in water. but seals must return to land to breed. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. today.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . whales do not breed in the region. and Southern Right.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. Like seals. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. Fin. Today. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. and their numbers have continued to thrive. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . During the 19th and 20th century. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. .Sept Birthing Month Dec . The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. However.000 200. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north.000 700. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue.. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. up to 2 hours 800. Minke.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . inhabiting Sept . Humpback. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction.
commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. long 30 ft. long 40-50 ft.000 100.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. they krill. Slow and easily hunted.000 20.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. long . their complex songs can last 20 min. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal.up octopus. long 50 ft. long 25-30 ft. long 80-90 ft.000 Size 85-100 ft. Hunt in packs.00 thousand 4. krill. long Diet Characteristics Krill. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. birds. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid.000 50 ft. fish Krill.000 Several 100. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. fish. fish. squid. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. deepest diving mammal .
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.