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Antarctic A

Antarctic A

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Published by: Husain Manasawala on Oct 06, 2010
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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.[2] Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland.[3] There are no permanent human residents but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, seals, nematodes, Tardigrades, mites, many types of algae and other microorganisms, and tundra vegetation. PHYSICAL FEATURES The continent of Antarctica is made up of two regions: the East Antarctica (often called the Greater Antarctica) and the West Antarctica (or the Lesser Antarctica). Transantarctic Mountains - Crossing the entire continent, this mountain range consists of peaks that are 2000 to 4000 meters high, with it's highest peak

of Mt. Kirkpatrick(next to the Beardmore Glacier) standing 4530m tall. Running from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, it is 3500 km long and 100 to 300 km wide, and separates the continent of Antarctica into two regions. Dry valleys- The Transantarctic Mountain chain has the largest of the ice-free rocky areas known as dry valleys. They are found in the land near the McMurdo Cove across from the Ross Island. The foot of the valley is 0 to 500 meters above sea level and the surrounding peaks are 1500 to 2500 meters high. (A new mineral called Antarcticite, a form of calcium chloride(CaCl) crystal, was also found here.) East Antarctica- Having all the four important poles in Antarctica (South pole, South Magnetic pole, South Geomagnetic pole, Unreachable pole), East Antarctica covers more than half of the continent, and is mainly located in Eastern Longitudes. (The land here consists of rocks that are more than 570 million years old, making it one of the oldest rocks in the world.) The central region of Antarctica is a vast ice plateau about 3,000 meters above sea level. Bordering the plateau, the coast of East Antarctica is marked by mountains, valleys, and glaciers. To the north of the plateau lies the ranges of Kottas, Mulig Hoffman, Wolthat, Ser Rondane, Belgica, and the Yamato Moutains.

and channels.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow.) Volcanoes.0 degrees S. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. south of the peninsula. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. Erebus on Ross Island. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. (Coastal Waters. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica.West Antarctica. 60. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. held together by the ice cap. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. although only 2 are still active-. Named after the reknowned explorers.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. S-shaped land.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. like the Bransfield Strait. Deception Island (63.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica.the Deception Island and Mt. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. At least 10 of them are recognized today.

and when the sun is low it cools down fast. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. precipitaion.Antarctica Peninsula. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. Since Antarctica can not store heat.are extreme compared to any part of the world. the word "extreme" could not be left out. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. Erebus(3.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. wind. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. Near the waters the warmest month is January. a caldera having hot springs. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. . (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. (Mt.

Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world. it's the windiest continent. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. There are about nine blizzards a year . These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow .Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore.5 cm of precipitation each year. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. As the world's driest continent.As previously said. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. here it's only in form of snow. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. it receives an average of 14. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind.

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

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

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

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

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

So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. Why are the Poles so cold? . natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. 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. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. the dumping of waste oil. 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. 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.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. However. which many believe it will be.

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

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

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

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

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

[edit] Milestones . human physiology and medicine. such as biology. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. atmospheric sciences. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. communication. meteorology. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. earth sciences. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. cold region engineering. in front of Maitri. glaciology. In 1991. It was built and finished in 1989. Contents [hide] • • • • • 1 Facilities 2 Milestones 3 Expeditions 4 External links 5 References [edit] Facilities The station has modern facilities to carry out research in various disciplines. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91[1].

html . thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www. [edit] Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’.doe. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built.gov. It was led by S. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).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.eia.Z. http://india.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica. 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. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Qasim. Subsequently. where the first Wintering was conducted. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. So far.

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.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. institutes. Goa. universities. 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. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. . Tele Seismic studies. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. 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. were also undertaken.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. Communication at Maitri. has become fully operational at NCAOR. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. In addition. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. 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. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. was initiated in 1981.

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. Antarctic territories.

6 km (1. about 1.8 in) per year.000. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. precipitation is very low.000 sq mi).0 mi) thick.400. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific.968 km (11.3 times as large as Europe. 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.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. down to 20 mm (0. . If all of this ice were melted. The coastline measures 17.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. and Indian Oceans. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative.000 km2 (5. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water).[19] In most of the interior of the continent. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. Atlantic. alternatively. It covers more than 14. making it the fifth-largest continent. leading to a desiccated landscape.

strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. During summer. on average.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. In the interior. First.[31] For comparison. where snowfalls of up to 1. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent.[1] Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. 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. 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. and temperature decreases with elevation. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C (−128. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. leaving the center cold and dry. Second.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. Mountain glaciation . ice there lasts for extended time periods. wind speeds are typically moderate. however. 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.[32] East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. in the Transantarctic Mountains. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation.

A sun dog. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals.[50] the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally.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. who are similarly rotated every year. The aurora australis. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun.[33][34] Politics Designed by Graham Bartram.000 in winter to about 5. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent.[32] Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust.[1] . the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. Antarctica has no government. commonly known as the southern lights.Given the latitude.

Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage.Oct Dec. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. whales. driest and windiest location on earth.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. To survive in the biting environment.000 pairs 1.Nov Birthing Month Feb . with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed . spending the winter in more temperate climates. crustaceans. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. 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. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. During this time seals. and fish. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin.July Oct .000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. It holds the title of coldest. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes.

They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.Feb Gentoo Sept .Oct Winter months Oct .only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan . Their bodies are designed for swimming. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.including coastal islands .000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . Impressive and elegant in the water.Nov Oct .Oct Oct . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica. Chinstrap. Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions .Dec Nov .Dec Sept .000 pairs Aug . Adelie.Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore.000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept .000 pairs Several 1.Dec Nov .Jan Shore-feeding birds.Oct Nov . Species Adelie Population 2. of 230 feet. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species. remain at sea. and Gentoo penguins.5 million pairs 200.

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

squid.up octopus.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. long 30 ft. long .000 50 ft. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. long 50 ft. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. deepest diving mammal . and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. long 40-50 ft.000 Several 100. long Diet Characteristics Krill. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25.000 20. birds. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11.000 100. Slow and easily hunted. fish. their complex songs can last 20 min. krill.00 thousand 4. fish Krill.000 Size 85-100 ft. fish. Hunt in packs. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. long 80-90 ft. long 25-30 ft. they krill.

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