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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.
(West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. (Coastal Waters. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean). that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. 60.) Volcanoes. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains. south of the peninsula. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. Named after the reknowned explorers.West Antarctica. Deception Island (63. held together by the ice cap.0 degrees S.the Deception Island and Mt. S-shaped land. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. and channels. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. although only 2 are still active-. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . which includes the Antarctic Peninsula.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. like the Bransfield Strait. At least 10 of them are recognized today. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes. Erebus on Ross Island. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica.
In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. (Mt. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere.are extreme compared to any part of the world. the word "extreme" could not be left out. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. precipitaion. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. wind. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. Since Antarctica can not store heat. Erebus(3. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. . and when the sun is low it cools down fast.Antarctica Peninsula. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. Near the waters the warmest month is January. a caldera having hot springs. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind.
As previously said. diamond dusts which are tiny dust of snow . Winds that sweep downward from the plateau can average 14 meters per second. The dome-shaped continent of Antarctica is the ideal environment for Katabatic wind. 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. or known as the gravity wind to be formed.Many explorers have been lost in blizzards. There are three types of snowfall seen in Antarctica. you may not even be able to see your hand right in front of your face. Although precipitation stands for rain in many parts of the world.5 cm of precipitation each year. There are about nine blizzards a year .) White Desert "Polar Desert" is what many people call the inland plateaus of Antarctica. it receives an average of 14. These powerful winds leave their marks on the surface of the ice cap. As the world's driest continent. it's the windiest continent. 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 inland plateaus are the driest and has only about 5 cm of snowfall each year. Snow brought by the clouds of low air pressure fronts. (Winds in blizzards can be so strong and powerful that in some. The average annual precipitation on coastal areas average about 30 cm. A blizzard is another key factor in Antarctica's climate.
There are only 800 species of plants existing in Antarctica. Antarctica's colorful environment includes seabirds. The mouth is inside its beak. (The Small Land Animals The only land animals in Antarctica are very small. They consist of protozoans and small insects. . The Plants Because of such harsh and cruel weather in Antarctica now. The largest fish in the Antarctic waters is the Antarctic Cod. The lack of hemoglobin serves as a natural anti-freeze. rocks. Antarctica hosts a surprising variety of marine and animal life. They resemble moss and are very well adapted to Antarctica's environment. Marine Life Given its extreme temperature. and frosts derived from frozen steams on the surface of the ice. The largest recorded Antarctic Cod ever caught was 162 lbs. 350 of them are lichens. It is different from most fish. And there aren't any trees there either. making it appear transparent and allowing it to stay comfortable in the extreme cold. because it has a beak. Lichens are fungus typed non-flowering plants that grow on tree trunks. very few plants live there. penguins. whales.falling from a clear sky. There are only 120 species of Antarctic Fish left. The average ice fish is around two feet long. seals. This little known creature. has no red hemoglobin in its blood. and on the ground. and weighs around two and a half pounds. and the unique Antarctic Fish.
The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. However. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica. Krill are tiny. It is also the only Antarctic bird never to set foot on land. and King. making them unable to fly. 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. Other Seabirds .5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. Krill is the main source of food for fish. red. Rockhopper. seals and whales. Gentoo. They are the Adelie. Antarctica has many ocean animals. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. Emperor. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. birds. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. Chinstrap. Macaroni. They measure about 1. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. penguins. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. The Antarctic waters are filled with them.
crabeater and elephant." However. and the Dominican Gull.There are twenty-four other seabirds besides the penguin that can survive in the harsh cold of the Antarctic. They eat only fish and squid. They have an amazing ability in diving and can dive up to 2000 feet into the water. the wandering albatross. The fur seal is the last specie. There are an additional twelve species of birds that live in Antarctica but they live either inland or in shallow water. Seals have blubber and fur to keep them warm.) The crabeater is the most common seal both in Antarctica and on the earth. And Whales . the blue-eyed cormorant.Elephant seals are the largest of the seals. The fur seal has a thick coat of fur. they're hearing is quite good both in the water and on land. leopard. Ross. The Seals Another mascot of Antarctica is the seal. the giant petrel. They get their name from their "trunk" which is used to scare off other males or to attract females. the South Georgia pintail.) These five species are the Weddel. (Out of the six seals living in Antarctica five are considered "true" seals because they are "earless. The leopard seal is the most fierce. Among these land birds are the wattled sheathbill. (The Ross seal is the rarest in Antarctica as well as the smallest. Among these shorebirds are the brown skua. and the South Georgia pipit.
The whales are split into two groups. In the Antarctic Peninsula. and the possibility of petroleum in the Ross Sea and the Bransfield Strait were revealed through drilling and coring of the earth. It is also one of the most intelligent creatures too. copper deposits were found. and about 220 minerals exist on Antarctica. or killer whale. lead. iron. Baleen. molybedenum. and Toothed.Whales are also found in Antarctica as well. The Blue Whale (a baleen) is supposedly the largest creature to ever live on earth. and in East Antarctica small amounts of chromium. And the largest carnivore is the orca. Antarctica's Natural Resources Today. gold. coal. petroleum. . and zinc were discovered. There are several species making their home in Antarctica. The Sperm Whale is the largest of the toothed whales. which is a bristly substance found in the mouth for filtering food such as krill. Coal beds lie within the Transantarctic Mountains. manganese. though none are in use.
So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. and our future. ice. Earth science. Antarctica. Over Antarctica. Two of them involves the whole world. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. 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. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. The earth is slowly heating up. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect. The research of global climates. magnetic movements. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. aurora. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). present. as a continent of wonder. . But to do so. atmosphere and O-zone.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years.
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. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. 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. 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. which many believe it will be. 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? . the dumping of waste oil. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. However. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills.
Thus.org/28779/geography3.thinkquest. For instance. Therefore. Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it.Captain A. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. even in summer. or ice) stays there. While the water is anything but warm. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. the air temperature decreases (by 6. First. it receives very little heat from the ocean. which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice. In addition. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean. Some of this heat makes its way through the ice to the air. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. moderating temperatures somewhat. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. The second reason is elevation. crew member Bill Dunn. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. which is at sea level.5C for each 1 km). As you go up in altitude. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. right. http://library. In fact. it usually stays around 30° F. In addition to being cold.html .D. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. There are a number of reasons why the polar regions remains cold. Colburn.3 km. WHOI. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. In comparison. Photo by George Tupper. Also.
-89. the north and south poles directly come to our minds.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. and the lowest temperature ever. In the polar regions. Trapped in ice. windiest.snow and frost. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth. the sun that is just above the . Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. But why are they cold? 1. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least.fall each year.6 degrees C. and the driest place on Earth. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round.
the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. the day and night gets even longer. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. When thinking about the global climate. As you near the poles. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. Without them. But not here in the polar regions. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. In Antarctica. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. Temperature of Antarctica . Since the ice is tremendously white. Usually. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice.horizon is cooler. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. Antarctica would be a much warmer place if it was not for the vast ice that covered it. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. 2. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. 3. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. two important factors could never be left out. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. making the poles the coldest place on earth. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year.
which is January. Today... or the Internet. singing. Antarctic Treaty Through the Antarctic Treaty. Antarctica has about 4. Antarctica is only the few areas of the world remaining where humans have not greatly changed the environment. In the Antarctic winter months of July and August. The Scientist Antarctica has no native human inhabitants. where no . which to some of us might be like murder. But there are other sources of entertainment.115 people from twenty-three different countries. Bowling alleys are found in some stations and in the winter seasons of Antarctica. too. In 1978. Antarctica has approximately 1. the MidWinter Festival takes place in the research centers of many countries where people engage in activities like movies. who come together from eighteen countries. In the summer. television. Emilio de Palma was the first baby ever born in Antarctica as noted in an investigation by the Argentinean Government to see if Antarctica was suitable for family life. and having fun.. radio broadcasting.. There are only 42 people that live in Antarctica year-round. Antarctica has been preserved. Just a note: Living in Antarctica means no telephone.046 people from sixteen countries.. some say that Antarctica should be a Wilderness Park of the world. .
but the land is still not under any country's rule. the International Geographic Congress.C. The U. but have retained the right to make a claim." Article I prohibits military activity and says that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes such as scientific research. interpreted and amended by the member nations. XIII. . 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. and agreed on making Antarctica the main focus of world exploration. Argentina. Article IX states that frequent meetings between member nations must take place. installations and equipment with advance notice of all affairs of state.S. in 1959. and a peaceful status for the continent. 1959 and was put into action on June 23. France. Article IV defines no territorial boundaries in Antarctica nor does it allow any new claims while the treaty is in effect. 1961.development would be permitted. Eisenhower proposed the idea of a treaty to preserve a lasting freedom. and ice shelves below 60 degrees South latitude. The twelve leading countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington on December 1. There are 42 member nations. Norway. In 1905. or to have nuclear explosives on Antarctica. Australia. Article VI puts the treaty into effect in all land. convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals. President Dwight D. Constitution and allows for civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized and illegal deeds. Article XI states that disagreements must be settled peacefully or by the I. This summit started years of government sponsored national expeditions. convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. 26 that vote and 16 nations that just participate. and other nations do not have claims. Article VIII gives power to the participating countries to regulate their own scientists and observers. 7 of the 26 voting nations claim portions of Antarctica as national territory. . Governmental matters over Antarctica are decided at meetings in which member nations participate. Chile. After the International Geophysical Year (IGY) held from 1957 to 58.S. There have been over 170 adopted changes to the treaty. 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. The Antarctic Conservation Act is part of the U.J. Articles XII. and XIV must be constantly upheld. Article III allows the transfer of information and personnel between countries under the supervision of the United Nations and other International Agencies. New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all claimed pieces of Antarctica. Article V makes it illegal to dispose of radioactive wastes in Antarctica. It set-up the basis for government and for the legal management of Antarctica. There are 14 articles to the Antarctic Treaty which starts with a preamble saying ". Article VII declares that treaty-state observers can access any stations. met in London.
Fresh water is provided through a fresh water lake named Lake Priyadarshini. earth sciences. In 1991. such as biology. glaciology. meteorology. after the first station Dakshina Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990-91. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. communication. atmospheric sciences. human physiology and medicine. It was built and finished in 1989. cold region engineering. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. in front of Maitri. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future. 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. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica.  Milestones .Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation.
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. So far. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built.doe. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’. Subsequently. twenty-one such expeditions have been launched. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Qasim. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent.gov.  Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa.html . where the first Wintering was conducted.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica.eia.php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www. including one to the Weddell Sea.Z. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). It was led by S. http://india. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition.
Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean. The expeditions to Antarctica are organised every year by National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) an autonomous institution of the Ministry set up at Goa. institutes. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. . 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. Tele Seismic studies. 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. has become fully operational at NCAOR. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. were also undertaken. Goa. universities. The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories. Communication at Maitri. In addition. was initiated in 1981. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases.
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.
. If all of this ice were melted.000. alternatively. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian.8 in) per year. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. down to 20 mm (0. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. precipitation is very low.000 km2 (5. about 1. It covers more than 14. The coastline measures 17. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean.400. In most of the interior of the continent. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.968 km (11. Atlantic. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative.000 sq mi).Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. and Indian Oceans.6 km (1. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. making it the fifth-largest continent.0 mi) thick. leading to a desiccated landscape.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. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water).
The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. 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.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. Mountain glaciation . Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. In the interior. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. First. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. however.2 °C (−128. ice there lasts for extended time periods. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. leaving the center cold and dry. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. 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. and temperature decreases with elevation. At the edge of the continent. in the Transantarctic Mountains. wind speeds are typically moderate.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. 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 a frozen desert with little precipitation. Second. During summer. For comparison. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. where snowfalls of up to 1. on average. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent.
so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. The aurora australis. . A sun dog. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. 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. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. who are similarly rotated every year. Politics Designed by Graham Bartram.000 in the summer. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship.000 in winter to about 5. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. 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. commonly known as the southern lights. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica.Given the latitude. Antarctica has no government. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions.
Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed .Oct Dec. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. During this time seals. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. driest and windiest location on earth. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. and fish. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. spending the winter in more temperate climates.Nov Birthing Month Feb . with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph. Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . crustaceans.000 pairs 1.July Oct . The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. To survive in the biting environment. It holds the title of coldest.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. whales.
Jan Shore-feeding birds. and Gentoo penguins.000 pairs Several 1.including coastal islands . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica. 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 .Oct Oct . of 230 feet. Species Adelie Population 2.Feb Gentoo Sept . penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species. robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers.Dec Nov .Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec .5 million pairs 200. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife.000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.000 pairs Aug .Oct Winter months Oct . remain at sea. the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max.Oct Nov .Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept .Nov Oct . Their bodies are designed for swimming. Adelie.000 pairs 7 million pairs 300.Dec Sept . While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions . Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor.Dec Nov .Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter. Chinstrap.
while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue.Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov . whales do not breed in the region.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov . or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. inhabiting Sept . and Southern Right.000 200.000 700. Minke.Sept Birthing Month Dec .Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. During the 19th and 20th century. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils. Most of the their life is spent in water. Fin. and the lack of polar bears. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. Today. However. 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. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. Humpback. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. Like seals. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. Thankfully. today. . up to 2 hours 800..000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. and their numbers have continued to thrive.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft. but seals must return to land to breed. consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250. Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica.
long Diet Characteristics Krill.000 Several 100.up octopus. krill.000 20. long 50 ft. long 40-50 ft.000 Size 85-100 ft. fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. long 80-90 ft. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750. deepest diving mammal . squid.000 Only whale still hunted Krill. Hunt in packs. their complex songs can last 20 min.000 100. long 30 ft.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11.00 thousand 4. long 25-30 ft. fish Krill. long . birds. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish.000 50 ft. Slow and easily hunted. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. fish. fish. they krill.