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discant/ INTRODUCTION Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean; alternatively, it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. It covers more than 14,000,000 km2 (5,400,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest continent, in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.It is about 1.3 times as large as Europe .About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland. There are no permanent human residents but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, seals, nematodes, Tardigrades, mites, many types of algae and other microorganisms, and tundra vegetation. PHYSICAL FEATURES The continent of Antarctica is made up of two regions: the East Antarctica (often called the Greater Antarctica) and the West Antarctica (or the Lesser Antarctica). Transantarctic Mountains - Crossing the entire continent, this mountain range consists of peaks that are 2000 to 4000 meters high, with it's highest peak
of Mt. Kirkpatrick(next to the Beardmore Glacier) standing 4530m tall. Running from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, it is 3500 km long and 100 to 300 km wide, and separates the continent of Antarctica into two regions. Dry valleys- The Transantarctic Mountain chain has the largest of the ice-free rocky areas known as dry valleys. They are found in the land near the McMurdo Cove across from the Ross Island. The foot of the valley is 0 to 500 meters above sea level and the surrounding peaks are 1500 to 2500 meters high. (A new mineral called Antarcticite, a form of calcium chloride(CaCl) crystal, was also found here.) East Antarctica- Having all the four important poles in Antarctica (South pole, South Magnetic pole, South Geomagnetic pole, Unreachable pole), East Antarctica covers more than half of the continent, and is mainly located in Eastern Longitudes. (The land here consists of rocks that are more than 570 million years old, making it one of the oldest rocks in the world.) The central region of Antarctica is a vast ice plateau about 3,000 meters above sea level. Bordering the plateau, the coast of East Antarctica is marked by mountains, valleys, and glaciers. To the north of the plateau lies the ranges of Kottas, Mulig Hoffman, Wolthat, Ser Rondane, Belgica, and the Yamato Moutains.
the Deception Island and Mt. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. Deception Island (63. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. Named after the reknowned explorers. S-shaped land.) Volcanoes.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. Erebus on Ross Island.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. held together by the ice cap. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. and channels.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. like the Bransfield Strait. (Coastal Waters.0 degrees S. 60. although only 2 are still active-. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. At least 10 of them are recognized today. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. south of the peninsula.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East.West Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous.
Near the waters the warmest month is January.are extreme compared to any part of the world.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. Erebus(3. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. Since Antarctica can not store heat. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. a caldera having hot springs.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. wind. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. the word "extreme" could not be left out. precipitaion. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica.Antarctica Peninsula. (Mt. and when the sun is low it cools down fast. . In the middle of the island is Foster Bay.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind.
The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow . Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate. it receives an average of 14.As previously said. There are about nine blizzards a year . here it's only in form of snow. Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. it's the windiest continent. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. As the world's driest continent.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind.5 cm of precipitation each year. or known as the gravity wind to be formed. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year.
because it has a beak. and weighs around two and a half pounds. And there aren't any trees there either. Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. and the unique Antarctic Fish. The mouth is inside its beak. very few plants live there. rocks. penguins. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. and on the ground. 350 of them are lichens. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. seals. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. They consist of protozoans and small insects. .falling from a clear sky. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. This little known creature. The average ice fish is around two feet long. It is different from most fish. whales. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice.
These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. Emperor. They are the Adelie. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. and King. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. birds. Rockhopper. Macaroni. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. penguins. seals and whales. red. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . However. Chinstrap. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. making them unable to fly. Krill is the main source of food for fish. They measure about 1. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. Gentoo. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. Other Seabirds . The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. Antarctica has many ocean animals. Krill are tiny.
) These five species are the Weddel.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. crabeater and elephant." However. Ross. The leopard seal is the most fierce. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. the South Georgia pintail. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. They eat only fish and squid. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. leopard. the giant petrel. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. And Whales . they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. The fur seal is the last specie. and the South Georgia pipit. and the Dominican Gull.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. the wandering albatross. the blue-eyed cormorant.
or killer whale. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. lead. and zinc were discovered. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. petroleum. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. though none are in use. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. manganese. iron. copper deposits were found. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. gold. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. molybedenum. In the Antarctic Peninsula. Baleen. The whales are split into two groups. And the largest carnivore is the orca.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. and Toothed. . coal.
But to do so. Antarctica. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. 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 earth is slowly heating up. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. Over Antarctica. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. ice. Earth science. and our future. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. . Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. Two of them involves the whole world. present. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. atmosphere and O-zone. magnetic movements. as a continent of wonder. The research of global climates. aurora.
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 Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. 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. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. 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. Why are the Poles so cold? . If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. 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. which many believe it will be.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster.
crew member Bill Dunn. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic.5C for each 1 km). In fact. 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.html . As you go up in altitude. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. Photo by George Tupper. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. even in summer. http://library.3 km. In comparison.Captain A. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. it receives very little heat from the ocean. In addition to being cold. the air temperature decreases (by 6. which is at sea level. Also. Colburn. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. WHOI.thinkquest. Thus. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day.org/28779/geography3. right. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. First. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth.D. The second reason is elevation. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. Therefore. For instance. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. it usually stays around 30° F. moderating temperatures somewhat. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. While the water is anything but warm. In addition. or ice) stays there.
But why are they cold? 1. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. the sun that is just above the . and the driest place on Earth. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983.6 degrees C.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. Trapped in ice. the north and south poles directly come to our minds.snow and frost.fall each year. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). In the polar regions. windiest. -89. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. and the lowest temperature ever.
As you near the poles. 3. two important factors could never be left out. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter.horizon is cooler. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. But not here in the polar regions. Temperature of Antarctica . the day and night gets even longer. Usually. In Antarctica. Since the ice is tremendously white. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. making the poles the coldest place on earth. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. Without them. 2. When thinking about the global climate. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space.
In 1978.. singing. In the summer. where no . . Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. or the Internet. which is January. Today. 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. who come together from eighteen countries. Antarctica has been preserved. Antarctica has about 4. 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.. and having fun.046 people from sixteen countries.. which to some of us might be like murder. But there are other sources of entertainment. radio broadcasting.. television. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August.115 people from twenty-three different countries. too. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world.. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. Antarctica has approximately 1. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants.
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. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate.J. Australia. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. the International Geographic Congress. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora.C. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. There are 42 member nations. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. In 1905. France. . Chile. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. Norway. 1959 and was put into action on June 23." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations.development would be permitted. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". and other nations do not have claims. that is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. but have retained the right to make a claim. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. President Dwight D. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica.S. . . Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. interpreted and amended by the member nations. in 1959. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. and a peaceful status for the continent. XIII. but the land is still not under any country's rule. The U. Articles XII. and XIV must be constantly upheld. Argentina. met in London. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals.S. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. 1961.
in front of Maitri. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. meteorology. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. such as biology. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. atmospheric sciences. 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. glaciology.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation.  Milestones . communication. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. In 1991. human physiology and medicine. earth sciences. It was built and finished in 1989. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. cold region engineering. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini.
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. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).doe.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).gov. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent. including one to the Weddell Sea.  Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa.Z.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built.html . Qasim. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition. http://india.eia.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www. Subsequently. where the first Wintering was conducted. It was led by S. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. So far. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean.
Goa. 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.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. In addition. Tele Seismic studies. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. institutes. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. 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. Communication at Maitri. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. was initiated in 1981. has become fully operational at NCAOR. were also undertaken. universities.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. 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. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. . The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1.
Geography Main article: Geography of Antarctica See also: Extreme points of Antarctica. Antarctic territories. and List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands A satellite composite image of Antarctica Elevation colorized relief Speed of ice streams .
it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. making it the fifth-largest continent.8 in) per year. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.400.000 sq mi).968 km (11.0 mi) thick.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.000 km2 (5.3 times as large as Europe. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. It covers more than 14. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. 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. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. precipitation is very low. down to 20 mm (0. alternatively. about 1.6 km (1. . leading to a desiccated landscape. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. If all of this ice were melted. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean.000. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). Atlantic. In most of the interior of the continent. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. and Indian Oceans. The coastline measures 17.
and temperature decreases with elevation. wind speeds are typically moderate.2 °C (−128. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. 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. First. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. on average. however. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. For comparison. In the interior.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. At the edge of the continent. the Arctic Ocean covers the north polar zone: the ocean's relative warmth is transferred through the icepack and prevents temperatures in the Arctic regions from reaching the extremes typical of the land surface of Antarctica.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. in the Transantarctic Mountains. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. Second. where snowfalls of up to 1. Mountain glaciation . strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. 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. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. ice there lasts for extended time periods. leaving the center cold and dry. During summer. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent.
 the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. commonly known as the southern lights. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. .Given the latitude. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. who are similarly rotated every year.000 in the summer. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship. Antarctica has no government. The aurora australis. A sun dog. Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents.000 in winter to about 5. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. 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. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation.
most seabirds tend to procreate in large. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. To survive in the biting environment. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts.July Oct . Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed . Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. crustaceans. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage.000 pairs 1. spending the winter in more temperate climates. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. whales. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec .Nov Birthing Month Feb .Oct Dec. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. and fish. During this time seals. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. driest and windiest location on earth. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. It holds the title of coldest. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel.
including coastal islands .000 pairs Several 1. Adelie. Impressive and elegant in the water. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan .000 pairs Aug .000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.Dec Nov .Oct Winter months Oct .000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.Oct Oct . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . Species Adelie Population 2. remain at sea. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.Jan Shore-feeding birds.Nov Oct . robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . Their bodies are designed for swimming.Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species. of 230 feet. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable. and Gentoo penguins.5 million pairs 200. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max.Oct Nov . Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Dec Sept .Dec Nov .only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor.Feb Gentoo Sept . Chinstrap.
Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. whales do not breed in the region. today. and their numbers have continued to thrive. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. and the lack of polar bears. Today..Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . . Minke. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. During the 19th and 20th century.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . Most of the their life is spent in water. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. and Southern Right. Thankfully. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities. However. but seals must return to land to breed. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. Fin.Sept Birthing Month Dec . up to 2 hours 800.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. Humpback. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. inhabiting Sept . Like seals.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary.000 200. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions.000 700.
000 100. fish Krill. long 25-30 ft.up octopus. squid. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. their complex songs can last 20 min. they krill. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. long 40-50 ft. krill.000 50 ft. long 50 ft.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. birds. long 80-90 ft. long Diet Characteristics Krill.000 Size 85-100 ft. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. fish. Hunt in packs. long 30 ft. Slow and easily hunted. long . don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500.000 Several 100.000 20. deepest diving mammal .00 thousand 4. fish.
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