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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.
a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. 60. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. (Coastal Waters. S-shaped land. like the Bransfield Strait. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland.0 degrees S. Erebus on Ross Island. held together by the ice cap. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains.West Antarctica is a collection of islands.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . At least 10 of them are recognized today.West Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. Named after the reknowned explorers. although only 2 are still active-. south of the peninsula. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains.) Volcanoes. Deception Island (63. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. and channels.the Deception Island and Mt. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica.
when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. . (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. Since Antarctica can not store heat.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. Erebus(3. a caldera having hot springs.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. (Mt. and when the sun is low it cools down fast. precipitaion. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. wind.are extreme compared to any part of the world. In the middle of the island is Foster Bay.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. the word "extreme" could not be left out.Antarctica Peninsula. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere. Near the waters the warmest month is January.
As the world's driest continent. or known as the gravity wind to be formed.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. here it's only in form of snow.) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. There are about nine blizzards a year . Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. The inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow . Katabatic winds are formed in the inland plateaus about 20 to 25 km from the coast and blows out 10 to 30 km offshore. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind.As previously said. This is because of the katabatic winds that pushes away the moist air from the ocean and avoiding clouds to form.5 cm of precipitation each year. 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. it receives an average of 14. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica.
There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. They consist of protozoans and small insects. The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. It is different from most fish. The average ice fish is around two feet long. 350 of them are lichens. rocks. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. and weighs around two and a half pounds. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. This little known creature. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. seals. and on the ground. whales. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. because it has a beak. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. very few plants live there. . Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. penguins. And there aren't any trees there either. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold.falling from a clear sky. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. and the unique Antarctic Fish. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. The mouth is inside its beak.
Krill are tiny. and King. Krill is the main source of food for fish. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. making them unable to fly. However.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. Other Seabirds . Macaroni. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. seals and whales. Rockhopper. penguins. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land.Other than those two there are no other native land animals in Antarctica. They are the Adelie. Emperor. birds. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. They measure about 1. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. red. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. Gentoo. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. Chinstrap. Antarctica has many ocean animals.
Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. the wandering albatross.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. The fur seal is the last specie. the South Georgia pintail. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. And Whales . They eat only fish and squid. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. The leopard seal is the most fierce. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. the blue-eyed cormorant. crabeater and elephant. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. the giant petrel. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. and the Dominican Gull.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. Ross. and the South Georgia pipit. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm. leopard. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water." However. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water.) These five species are the Weddel.
coal. . The whales are split into two groups. Baleen. There are several species making their home in Antarctica.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. gold. iron. petroleum. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. and Toothed. though none are in use. In the Antarctic Peninsula. molybedenum. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. lead. or killer whale. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. manganese. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. copper deposits were found. And the largest carnivore is the orca. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. and zinc were discovered.
is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. 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. atmosphere and O-zone. 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. magnetic movements. But to do so. as a continent of wonder.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. present. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. and our future. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. ice. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). Earth science. . Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. aurora. The earth is slowly heating up. Antarctica. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. The research of global climates. Over Antarctica. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. Two of them involves the whole world. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years.
which many believe it will be. However. the dumping of waste oil. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. 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. 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. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. 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 enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. Why are the Poles so cold? . The continent's usefulness as a scientific tool and international research station will continue to be taken advantage of and Antarctica will continue its important role in providing answers to the dilemma of climate change.
the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. In addition to being cold. In comparison. While the water is anything but warm. crew member Bill Dunn. Therefore. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. moderating temperatures somewhat. which is at sea level. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. In fact. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. right. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it.D. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo.thinkquest. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. it receives very little heat from the ocean. Thus. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. For instance. In addition.Captain A. the air temperature decreases (by 6. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it.3 km. First. Colburn. even in summer.org/28779/geography3. Photo by George Tupper. The second reason is elevation. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. Also. http://library. it usually stays around 30° F. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. or ice) stays there. As you go up in altitude. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air.5C for each 1 km).html . WHOI. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise.
yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. In the polar regions.fall each year. windiest. Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. Trapped in ice. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. and the driest place on Earth.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. the north and south poles directly come to our minds.6 degrees C.snow and frost. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. -89. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. the sun that is just above the . and the lowest temperature ever. But why are they cold? 1.
3. making the poles the coldest place on earth. 2. In Antarctica. When thinking about the global climate. the day and night gets even longer. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. Usually. Since the ice is tremendously white. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. two important factors could never be left out. the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. As you near the poles. But not here in the polar regions. Temperature of Antarctica . instead of absorbing the sun's energy. Without them. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily.horizon is cooler.
television. singing. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August.. Antarctica has about 4.. or the Internet.. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. radio broadcasting. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world. In the summer.046 people from sixteen countries. and having fun.. . Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants. 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. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. Antarctica has approximately 1. where no . In 1978.115 people from twenty-three different countries. which to some of us might be like murder. Antarctica has been preserved. But there are other sources of entertainment. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. which is January.. too. Today.
Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. Chile.C. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. Article II states that scientific investigation and cooperation between countries can continue. 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. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. 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. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. Australia. These changes include the agreed measures for the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". President Dwight D. . The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. . 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. and XIV must be constantly upheld. The U. XIII.S. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. and a peaceful status for the continent. in 1959. Norway. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. but the land is still not under any country's rule. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. met in London. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. There are 42 member nations. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. Articles XII. Article X insures the preservation of the Treaty by member nations. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. France. but have retained the right to make a claim. 1959 and was put into action on June 23. and other nations do not have claims. In 1905. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect.J. Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. .S. Argentina.development would be permitted. 1961. the International Geographic Congress. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. interpreted and amended by the member nations.
In 1991.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. earth sciences. human physiology and medicine. cold region engineering. meteorology. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. atmospheric sciences. communication. It was built and finished in 1989. in front of Maitri.  Milestones . such as biology. 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. Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. glaciology. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis.
It was led by S. http://india. Subsequently. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition. where the first Wintering was conducted. So far.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www.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. Qasim. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research.doe. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).gov.eia.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica.html . 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent.  Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built.Z.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. including one to the Weddell Sea.
Communication at Maitri. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. 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. In addition. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. Tele Seismic studies. The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. has become fully operational at NCAOR. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. universities. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. was initiated in 1981. institutes. 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. Dakshin Gangotri Glacier has been monitored by Indian Scientists for the last 23 years An Ice Core Laboratory to study the ice cores brought from the Antarctica. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. . were also undertaken.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet.
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 .
968 km (11.3 times as large as Europe. leading to a desiccated landscape.8 in) per year. 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. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. In most of the interior of the continent. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). alternatively. about 1. down to 20 mm (0. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. and Indian Oceans.6 km (1.000 km2 (5. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. making it the fifth-largest continent.000 sq mi). If all of this ice were melted. precipitation is very low.0 mi) thick. The coastline measures 17. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.400. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. 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.000. .Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. Atlantic. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. It covers more than 14. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean.
ice there lasts for extended time periods. however. 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. For comparison. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded.2 °C (−128. wind speeds are typically moderate. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. on average. At the edge of the continent.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. where snowfalls of up to 1. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. Mountain glaciation . Second. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. 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. During summer. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. 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. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. First. in the Transantarctic Mountains. and temperature decreases with elevation. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. In the interior. leaving the center cold and dry.
000 in winter to about 5. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. The aurora australis. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. A sun dog. Antarctica has no government. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally.000 in the summer. Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. commonly known as the southern lights. who are similarly rotated every year. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. .Given the latitude. 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.
Oct Dec. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed . Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System.000 pairs 1. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. driest and windiest location on earth. To survive in the biting environment.Nov Birthing Month Feb . Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. 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. spending the winter in more temperate climates. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. and fish. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. It holds the title of coldest.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. whales. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. During this time seals.July Oct . crustaceans.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel.
000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.Dec Nov .Nov Oct . rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.Oct Oct . sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan . Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph. Adelie. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. Species Adelie Population 2. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable. and Gentoo penguins.5 million pairs 200.Jan Shore-feeding birds. remain at sea.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100.Dec Nov . only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . of 230 feet. by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions .000 pairs Several 1.Oct Nov . Chinstrap.000 pairs Aug .Oct Winter months Oct .Dec Sept . Their bodies are designed for swimming.Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec .including coastal islands .Feb Gentoo Sept .Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10. Impressive and elegant in the water.
Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. 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. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. and the lack of polar bears. Most of the their life is spent in water. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . Like seals. whales do not breed in the region. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands.Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . .000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. Fin.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. Humpback. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction.000 700. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north. but seals must return to land to breed. Thankfully. and Southern Right. Today. today. while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue.Sept Birthing Month Dec .Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. up to 2 hours 800. However. Minke. several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. inhabiting Sept .000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . While regulations have been placed on whaling activities..000 200. and their numbers have continued to thrive. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic.
fish.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. long . don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11. krill. fish. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. Slow and easily hunted. long 80-90 ft. birds.000 20. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. their complex songs can last 20 min.000 50 ft.00 thousand 4.000 100. Hunt in packs. long 50 ft.up octopus. deepest diving mammal . fish Krill. long 40-50 ft. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. long Diet Characteristics Krill. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. squid. they krill. long 25-30 ft.000 Size 85-100 ft. long 30 ft. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal.000 Several 100.
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