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.
60. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland.0 degrees S. south of the peninsula. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. Deception Island (63. S-shaped land. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula.) Volcanoes. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. Named after the reknowned explorers.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous. (Coastal Waters. like the Bransfield Strait. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean).the Deception Island and Mt.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. At least 10 of them are recognized today. although only 2 are still active-. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the
. and channels.West Antarctica. held together by the ice cap. Erebus on Ross Island.
When talking about Antarctica's climate. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. Since Antarctica can not store heat. Near the waters the warmest month is January. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly.
. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February.
Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. wind. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. precipitaion. (Mt. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. a caldera having hot springs.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. Erebus(3. the word "extreme" could not be left out. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. and when the sun is low it cools down fast.are extreme compared to any part of the world.Antarctica Peninsula. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind.
A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. There are about nine blizzards a year . As the world's driest continent. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year.5 cm of precipitation each year.As previously said. it receives an average of 14. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow
. here it's only in form of snow. 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. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. it's the windiest continent.
very few plants live there. penguins. whales. and weighs around two and a half pounds. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. They consist of protozoans and small insects. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. It is different from most fish. rocks. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. 350 of them are lichens. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. because it has a beak. and the unique Antarctic Fish. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life.falling from a clear sky. And there aren't any trees there either. The mouth is inside its beak. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. This little known creature.
. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. seals. The average ice fish is around two feet long. and on the ground.
and King. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. Macaroni. Krill is the main source of food for fish. Rockhopper. making them unable to fly. penguins. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . Antarctica has many ocean animals. They are the Adelie. 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.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. Emperor. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. seals and whales. Krill are tiny. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land. birds. They measure about 1. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. Gentoo. out
of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. red.
The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. However. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor.
They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. the blue-eyed cormorant. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. Ross. The fur seal is the last specie. The leopard seal is the most fierce. and the Dominican Gull.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. the South Georgia pintail. the wandering albatross. and the South Georgia pipit. They eat only fish and squid.) These five species are the Weddel.
The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. crabeater and elephant." However.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. And Whales
. leopard. the giant petrel. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest.
and Toothed. gold. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. copper deposits were found. manganese. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. And the largest carnivore is the orca. molybedenum.
Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. In the Antarctic Peninsula. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. and zinc were discovered. The whales are split into two groups. Baleen. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well.
. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. petroleum. or killer whale. lead. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. coal. though none are in use. 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. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. iron.
Over Antarctica. and our future. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past.
. The earth is slowly heating up. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. Antarctica. present. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground).Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. But to do so. Two of them involves the whole world. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. magnetic movements. aurora. atmosphere and O-zone. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. ice. as a continent of wonder. Earth science. we must never forget that it is infact a delicate continent which needs our support to remain as it is for many futures to come. The research of global climates.
natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. the dumping of waste oil.
Why are the Poles so cold?
. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. 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. However. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. The continent's usefulness as a scientific tool and international research station will continue to be taken advantage of and Antarctica will continue its important role in providing answers to the dilemma of climate change.
Antarctica in the 21st Century Antarctica's serenely primitive wilderness faces an uncertain future as debate continues over the question of tapping into the continent's wealth of mineral resources.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster.
thinkquest.3 km. Photo by George Tupper. WHOI.Captain A. While the water is anything but warm. the air temperature decreases (by 6.
There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. Thus. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise.org/28779/geography3. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. it usually stays around 30° F. crew member Bill Dunn.5C for each 1 km). which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. even in summer. Also. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. Therefore.D. it receives very little heat from the ocean. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. In addition to being cold. In comparison. First. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground.
Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic?
There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic.
http://library. 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 second reason is elevation.html
. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. right. Colburn. In fact. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. moderating temperatures somewhat. which is at sea level. In addition. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. For instance. or ice) stays there. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. As you go up in altitude.
was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. the sun that is just above the
. windiest. Trapped in ice.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. -89.6 degrees C.snow and frost. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. and the lowest temperature ever. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. In the polar regions. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. and the driest place on Earth.fall each year. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. But why are they cold? 1. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. the north and south poles directly come to our minds. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year).
6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space.
Temperature of Antarctica
. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. But not here in the polar regions. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. Without them. two important factors could never be left out.horizon is cooler. In Antarctica. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. When thinking about the global climate. As you near the poles. 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. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. Usually. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. making the poles the coldest place on earth. 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. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. 3. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. 2. the day and night gets even longer.
Today. In the summer. or the Internet. Emilio de Palma was the first baby ever born in Antarctica as noted in an investigation by the Argentinean Government to see if Antarctica was suitable for family life. In 1978.. television. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone. But there are other sources of entertainment.046 people from sixteen countries. who come together from eighteen countries. singing.... The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants.. which to some of us might be like murder. and having fun. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. where no
. Antarctica has about 4. radio broadcasting. too. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. Antarctica has approximately 1. which is January. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. Antarctica has been preserved. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world.
.115 people from twenty-three different countries.
In 1905. Chile. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. and a peaceful status for the continent. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. and XIV must be constantly upheld. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate.C. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place.S. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U. 1959 and was put into action on June 23. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. Articles XII.development would be permitted. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. 1961. the International Geographic Congress. 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. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. Argentina. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. France. and other nations do not have claims. but have retained the right to make a claim. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. 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. interpreted and amended by the member nations. . President Dwight D. XIII. in 1959. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers.
. Norway.S. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. met in London. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. Australia. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. The U.J. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. There are 42 member nations. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. . and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration.
Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. earth sciences.
• • • • •
1 Facilities 2 Milestones 3 Expeditions 4 External links 5 References
The station has modern facilities to carry out research in various disciplines. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. meteorology.
. communication. cold region engineering. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. such as biology. It was built and finished in 1989.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. atmospheric sciences. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. human physiology and medicine. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. in front of Maitri. glaciology. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. In 1991.
http://india. Qasim.doe. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research. including one to the Weddell Sea. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition.html
EIA Home Contact Us
http://www. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).eia. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. It was led by S. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. So far. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built. Subsequently. where the first Wintering was conducted.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.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica.gov. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).
The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa.Z. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.
So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. universities. In addition. institutes. Tele Seismic studies. Communication at Maitri. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases.
. 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. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. has become fully operational at NCAOR. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. 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. was initiated in 1981. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. Goa. 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. 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.
and List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands
A satellite composite image of Antarctica
Elevation colorized relief
Speed of ice streams
Main article: Geography of Antarctica See also: Extreme points of Antarctica. Antarctic territories.
it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific.3 times as large as Europe. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.968 km (11.000 sq mi).
. 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. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. about 1. Atlantic. making it the fifth-largest continent.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. down to 20 mm (0. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). leading to a desiccated landscape. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. If all of this ice were melted. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.000. alternatively. In most of the interior of the continent.000 km2 (5. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. It covers more than 14. precipitation is very low. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). The coastline measures 17. and Indian Oceans. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.6 km (1.0 mi) thick.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle.8 in) per year. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative.400.
The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. on average.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983.2 °C (−128. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. 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. At the edge of the continent.
.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. leaving the center cold and dry. In the interior. ice there lasts for extended time periods.Climate
Main article: Climate of Antarctica
The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. First. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. 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. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. however. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. For comparison. wind speeds are typically moderate. in the Transantarctic Mountains. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. During summer. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. Second. 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. where snowfalls of up to 1. and temperature decreases with elevation.
Designed by Graham Bartram. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth.
See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. commonly known as the southern lights. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment.
. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. A sun dog.
HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. Antarctica has no government.Given the latitude. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. who are similarly rotated every year. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon.000 in the summer. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. The aurora australis. Many of the stations are staffed year-round.000 in winter to about 5.
The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed
. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec .
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. To survive in the biting environment. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. crustaceans. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow.July Oct . Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. spending the winter in more temperate climates. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. whales. driest and windiest location on earth.000 pairs 1.Nov Birthing Month Feb . and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. and fish. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. It holds the title of coldest.Oct Dec.
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Antarctica is a continent of extremes. During this time seals. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F.
only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. sightings have occurred at South Pole
One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . and Gentoo penguins. of 230 feet.Oct Winter months Oct . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore.Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas
10.Dec Sept . rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive. Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.5 million pairs 200. Species Adelie Population 2.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands
Sept . Impressive and elegant in the water.Dec Nov . the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. Chinstrap.Dec
Nov .000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.000 pairs Several 1. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species. Their bodies are designed for swimming. Adelie. resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.including coastal islands .Nov Oct .Oct Oct .Jan
Shore-feeding birds.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.Oct
.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . remain at sea.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.000 pairs
many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. today.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill.000 700. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions.000 200.Antarctic Seals
Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole
Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies.Sept Birthing Month Dec . whales do not breed in the region. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov .Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. and Southern Right. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. inhabiting Sept . The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. but seals must return to land to breed. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year
Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell
4 million 250. Today. Thankfully. Fin.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug .000
Their valued fur led to much Nov . Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale.
Lives farther south than any other mammal. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. up to 2 hours
800. Minke. However. Like seals. and their numbers have continued to thrive. Most of the their life is spent in water. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. Humpback. and the lack of polar bears. During the 19th and 20th century.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities..
fish. long 40-50 ft.000
50 ft. and be heard 20 miles away
500. squid.00 thousand 4. Hunt in packs. long
Size 85-100 ft. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. krill.000 20. long 25-30 ft. birds. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. fish Krill. deepest diving mammal . they krill. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. long 50 ft. long 80-90 ft.Species Blue Fin Humpback
Only whale still hunted Krill. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. to 1 mile skate
750. their complex songs can last 20 min. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25.000 Several 100.up octopus. Slow and easily hunted. long 30 ft. long
Krill.000 100. fish.