http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/ipy07.sci.life.eco.

discant/ INTRODUCTION Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean; alternatively, it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, or by the southern waters of the World Ocean. It covers more than 14,000,000 km2 (5,400,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest continent, in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.It is about 1.3 times as large as Europe .About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.

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

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

West Antarctica. held together by the ice cap. seperates the offshore islands from the mainland. (West Antarctica developed as part of the Ring of Fire. that is in fact a continuation of the Andes Mountains of South America. Numerous bays are found indenting the coastline. They are the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. two large gulfs cut into Antarctica. and channels. 60. At least 10 of them are recognized today.West Antarctica is a collection of islands. Erebus on Ross Island. The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountainous.At the opposite ends of the Transantarctic Mountains. which includes the Antarctic Peninsula. and has volcanoes that are not seen anywhere else in Antarctica. like the Bransfield Strait. West Antarctica also has several other mountain ranges and volcanoes.5 degrees W) is a horse shoe-shaped volcanic island lying west of the . Named after the reknowned explorers. S-shaped land. south of the peninsula. It contains hardly any old rocks of the East. a chain of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean).) Volcanoes.Volcanoes are even found in the continent of ice and snow. although only 2 are still active-.0 degrees S. Deception Island (63. there are also the Bellingshausen and the Amundsen Seas bordering the West Antarctica. (Coastal Waters. The highest peak in Antarctica is Vinson Massif(5140m) in the Ellsworth Mountains.the Deception Island and Mt.

In the middle of the island is Foster Bay. (Mt. Temperature is directly effected by the amount of sunlight in Antarctica. the seasons are opposite with the Northern Hemisphere.794 m) was the first volcano found in Antarctica. a caldera having hot springs.) The Antarctic winter lasts from May until August and the summer lasts from December until February. when the sun is high it gets warm quickly. The Wind: aka Katabatic The most significant factor in Antarctic weather is wind. and the only beach in Antarctica where it's able to swim. . Erebus(3. Near the waters the warmest month is January. The temperatures vary in places in Antarctica. The island is only the top of the volcano that lies mostly under water. (Since Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere.Antarctica Peninsula. wind. precipitaion.are extreme compared to any part of the world. Since Antarctica can not store heat. All the factors that make up the weathertemperature. the word "extreme" could not be left out.) Climate When talking about Antarctica's climate. and when the sun is low it cools down fast.

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

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

Other Seabirds . making them unable to fly. These two creatures are what most of the animals in the Antarctic live on. birds. The bones of these flightless penguins are solid instead of being hollow like most birds. ) The Mascot of Antarctica: The penguin . The Adelie is the most common penguin (named after a French explorer) and the Emperor is the largest. The Antarctic waters are filled with them. Emperor. Chinstrap. Penguins are amazing swimmers but they cannot fly. The land is too warm to support much life but the water is not. Antarctica has many ocean animals. However. They measure about 1. Rockhopper. The largest of the penguins species is the emperor. Macaroni. Gentoo. penguins. Penguins have a waterproof coat of feathers and a thick layer of fat both of which are essential for swimming. red. It breeds and lives on sea ice attached to the mainland. and King. 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. Some of the tiny ocean creatures are Zooplankton (krill) and Phytoplankton. shrimp like creatures that are the most abundant of all the Zooplankton in Antarctica. The only penguins considered as "true" Antarctic penguins are the Adelie and Emperor because they live on continental Antarctica. Krill are tiny. They are the Adelie. seals and whales. Krill is the main source of food for fish.5 inches and are very important for the Antarctic food chain. out of eighteen living species there are only seven species of penguins that arefound in Antarctica.

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

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

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

So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this. the dumping of waste oil. However. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. Why are the Poles so cold? . 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. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities. natural oil seeps and well blowouts will rise substantially. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. which many believe it will be. An expected and dramatic increase in world demand for energy over the next 30 years may expose the continent to countries and markets looking for alternative petroleum supplies.

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

was recorded at Russia's Vostok Station in 1983. and the lowest temperature ever. Compared with the sun that is directly above our heads. Temperatures drop down easily to -70 degrees C. and the driest place on Earth. But why are they cold? 1.6 degrees C. the sun does not rise much from the horizon even in summer solstice(the day having the longest daytime in the year). Trapped in ice.Why is Antarctica the Coldest Place on Earth? Antarctica is no doubt the coldest. the amount of sunlight recieved from the Sun differs with regions. yet the inland plateaus are drier than the Sahara: only 50mm of precipitaion. windiest. the sun that is just above the . Every minute parts of Antarctica are swept away by the harsh blizzard. In the polar regions. Antarctica has the most severe natural environment on Earth.snow and frost. But why? Why are the Poles Cold? When we think of the coldest places on Earth. the places that give us the shudder just thinking about it.fall each year. the north and south poles directly come to our minds. The regions across the equator gets the most and the poles the least. -89. Difference in the amount of sunlight Because the Earth is round.

two important factors could never be left out. Although the poles receive sunlight in the 6 months of summer. massive white sheets of ice cover the whole continent and in the Arctic region as well. more are lost in the following 6 months of winter. The water and the atmosphere carries heat to various places on the planet by means of wind and ocean current. both circulating constantly on the Earth's surface. making the poles the coldest place on earth. When thinking about the global climate. 2. As you near the poles.horizon is cooler. The color of the ground plays an important role when absorbing the sun's heat. and the sense of season and "day" is lost. Since the ice is tremendously white. the day and night gets even longer. The presence of ICE The most important reason of why the poles are cold is the presence of ice. Usually. 6 months of winter and 6 months of summer In most places around the world the sun appears daily. the ice sheet act as a mirror which directly reflects it back into space. 3. 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. instead of absorbing the sun's energy. They are the waters that cover 70% of the Earth and the atmosphere. The North and South poles both experience 6 months of day and 6 months of night every year. In Antarctica. Temperature of Antarctica . the regions of the equator would be a much hotter place and the polar regions colder than ever. the daytime is longer in summer and the nighttime is longer in winter. Without them.

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

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

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

php EIA Home Contact Us URL: http://www. 2005: India completed its first 25 years in Antarctica and launched an expedition in Dec 2005 called the Silver Jubilee Indian Antarctic Expedition.doe. where the first Wintering was conducted. 1983: The permanent station Dakshin Gangotri was built. thus upholding its commitment to preserve the pristine continent. 1988-1989: India built its second indigenous station ‘Maitri’.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.Z.in/sectors/science/antarctic_expedition.gov/emeu/cabs/antarctica. http://india. Subsequently. one of these was a krill expedition to the southern ocean. annual Antarctic expeditions have been sent through the Department of Ocean Development and the National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research. 1986: India became a member of Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Qasim.eia. [edit] Expeditions The chapter of the Indian Antarctic Programme opened in December 1981 when the first Indian Expedition was flagged off for Antarctica from Goa. including one to the Weddell Sea. 1997: India ratified the Environment Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. 1 October 1984: India was admitted as a member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).gov. It was led by S. So far.html . twenty-one such expeditions have been launched.

The Indian station Maitri situated in the Central Droning Maud land of east Antarctica has provided a platform to more than 1. In addition. Permanent GPS Tracking Station at Maitri. institutes. survey and service organisations to conduct experiments in all major disciplines of polar sciences. ORV Sagar Kanya also conducted experiments in the Southern Ocean.Antarctic Expedition and Polar Science The Antarctic Research Programme. universities. . Tele Seismic studies. was initiated in 1981. Communication at Maitri. 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. Goa. were also undertaken. 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. is a national programme that has a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach. 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. Study of Crack propagation on Ice Sheet. Scientific experiments being carried out at 787 Scientific and Technological Developments Antarctica are in the field of Measurements of Greenhouse gases. has become fully operational at NCAOR. So far 25 scientific expeditions have been launched on a regular basis.500 personnel drawn from about 75 national laboratories.

Antarctic territories. 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.

About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean.000 km2 (5.0 mi) thick. leading to a desiccated landscape.165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations.3 times as large as Europe. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water). about 1.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle.968 km (11. The coastline measures 17.[19] In most of the interior of the continent.400. If all of this ice were melted. It covers more than 14. . precipitation is very low.8 in) per year. alternatively. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. making it the fifth-largest continent. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.000 sq mi). a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.000. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). 1983) Type Frequency Ice shelf (floating ice front) 44% Ice walls (resting on ground) 38% Ice stream/outlet glacier (ice front or ice wall) 13% Rock 5% Total 100% Maritime Antarctica Antarctica is divided in two by the Transantarctic Mountains close to the neck between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry. and Indian Oceans.6 km (1. Atlantic. down to 20 mm (0.

Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. Mountain glaciation . ice there lasts for extended time periods. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. 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. in the Transantarctic Mountains. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. First. In the interior. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. During summer.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983.2 °C (−128. and temperature decreases with elevation. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force.[32] East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. where snowfalls of up to 1. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. 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. 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. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded.[1] Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. however. Second. At the edge of the continent. wind speeds are typically moderate. on average. leaving the center cold and dry. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year.[31] For comparison.

The aurora australis. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies. Antarctica has no government. An Orthodox church opened in 2004 at the Russian Bellingshausen Station is also manned year-round by one or two priests. a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon. commonly known as the southern lights. symbolizing the continent's neutrality. long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. who are similarly rotated every year.[50] the validity of these claims are generally not recognised universally. although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. Many of the stations are staffed year-round. is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1.000 in the summer.[32] Population See also: Demographics of Antarctica and List of research stations in Antarctica Antarctica has no permanent residents. but a number of governments maintain permanent manned research stations throughout the continent.[33][34] Politics Designed by Graham Bartram. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust. a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment.[1] .000 in winter to about 5. so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. this is the most popular unofficial flag of Antarctica. A sun dog.Given the latitude. While few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims. HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship.

Nov Birthing Month Feb . Due to the shortage of snow-free nesting regions. Antarctic birds have waterproof plumage. whales. spending the winter in more temperate climates. Antarctic Birds Millions of seabirds breed along the coast and offshore islands of Antarctica. Species Albatrosses (various species) Snow Petrels Population 750. impressive concentrations making for ideal viewing conditions for the bird enthusiasts. Antarctica cruises offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities and the following tables can help in planning your Antarctic travel. making Antarctica a peculiar and brilliant frozen desert of snow. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -129 degrees F.000 pairs Breeding Month Dec . crustaceans. Each summer month has its own unique wildlife viewing opportunities not to be missed. But even in such harsh conditions Antarctica remains the home of a large variety of extraordinary wildlife. Its average interior precipitation is less than a couple of inches per year. most seabirds tend to procreate in large. The birds will migrate north as the summer months come to an end. Characteristics Capable of flying 550 miles per day at speeds of 50 mph Will desert their eggs if nests are overly disturbed . Wildlife in Antarctica is most active in the austral summer months. During this time seals. penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill. and large compact bodies with a dense layer of fat under their skin.000 pairs 1. You are here: Home » Articles » Antarctica Wildlife Antarctica Wildlife Antarctic Wildlife Antarctica is a continent of extremes. It holds the title of coldest. and fish. with winds blasting along the coastline at speeds up to 200 mph.July Oct .Oct Dec. collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System.New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. To survive in the biting environment. There are nineteen species of seabirds that breed along the continent. driest and windiest location on earth. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements.

Powerful paddle muscles and a compact hydrodynamic body shape allow penguins to swim up to 25 mph.Oct Nov .000 pairs Several 100 thousand Several 100 thousand 100. of 230 feet. penguins are considered by many to be the continent's signature species.only four types of the flightless birds breed on the continent itself: the Emperor.Jan Shore-feeding birds.5 million pairs 200. They spend over 75% of their lives as sea where they are most comfortable.000 pairs Breeding Month Sept . by contrast penguins awkwardly waddle and hop once ashore. remain at sea.Cormorants Antarctic Fulmars Gulls Sheathbills Skuas 10.Dec Nov . Chinstrap.Nov Oct . Adelie. lasting no more and a half a minute The least abundant penguin species on the subantarctic islands Emperor Sept Chinstrap Jan .000 pairs 7 million pairs 300. Their bodies are designed for swimming.000 pairs Several 1. Impressive and elegant in the water. sightings have occurred at South Pole Penguins One of Antarctica's most familiar wildlife. only Antarctic bird that does not have webbed feet Southern most bird. rarely seen out of the sight of land Capable of spitting foul smelling oil up to 5 feet if nests are threatened Aggressive.Dec Sept .Nov Birthing Month Dec Characteristics In winter.Oct Winter months Oct . robbing other bird's nests of eggs Scavengers. and Gentoo penguins.Dec Nov . the only bird that breeds in winter Can only dive a max. Species Adelie Population 2.Oct Oct .including coastal islands . resting on pack ice and iceberg groups Permanent habitants of Antarctica.000 pairs Aug .Feb Gentoo Sept .Feb Jan Jan Nov Dec . While seventeen species of penguins can be found in the subantarctic regions .

consuming 20-25 times their body weight a year Fur Leopard Ross Southern Elephant Weddell 4 million 250.000 Dec Lives farther south than any other mammal. The only toothed whales found in the Antarctic are the Orca and the Sperm whale. but seals must return to land to breed. However. inhabiting Sept .Oct waters just 800 miles from South Pole Whales Whales are divided into two main groups: toothed and baleen.Dec Nov Austral summer Only seal that eats its other seals Has a siren-like call Can dive deeper than 3200 ft.Antarctic Seals Much of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean was do to the search for new seal communities.000 200. Today. up to 2 hours 800. Fin. and the lack of polar bears. Humpback. Species Crabeater Population 30 million Breeding Month Austral spring Nov .Sept Birthing Month Dec . Most of the their life is spent in water.000 700.. the entire area surrounding Antarctica is recognized as a whale sanctuary. they do take advantage of the nutrient-filled waters in the austral summer. the seals are protected by a collection of agencies. The best locations to view their breeding grounds are on the pack ice surrounding Antarctica. Because of the nutrient-rich feeding regions. Minke. whales do not breed in the region. and their numbers have continued to thrive. Like seals. During the 19th and 20th century. While regulations have been placed on whaling activities. . Unlike the other wildlife of Antarctica. Thankfully. today. the Antarctic has a much larger seal population than the Arctic.Jan Characteristics Largest consumer of krill.Jan of the early exploration of Antarctica Nov . several species of whales were hunted until near extinction in the mid-1900s. or along the coastal shores of the northern islands. these magnificent giants have not seen their populations recover as well as the seals. Entire populations of species were driven to the brink of extinction. and Southern Right. many seals were hunted for their valuable skins and oils.000 Their valued fur led to much Nov .Dec Austral summer Austral spring Aug . while a variety of baleen whales have been sited: Blue. traveling great distances from their temperate breeding waters in the north.

000 20. deepest diving mammal . long 25-30 ft.000 Several 100. they krill.000 Size 85-100 ft. fish. long 80-90 ft. long . fish Fastest of the baleen whales Very vocal. other Largest whale and the largest crustaceans animal ever to live on earth Squid. birds. are only beginning to recover crustaceans from extinction Giant Swim in schools of 20-25. long Diet Characteristics Krill.Species Blue Fin Humpback Population 11.000 50 ft. squid. fish Krill. to 1 mile skate Orca Southern Right Sperm 750.000 100.00 thousand 4.000 Only whale still hunted Krill.up octopus. long 50 ft. and be heard 20 miles away Minke 500. long 40-50 ft. commercially by Japan and squid Norway Fish. long 30 ft. don't make the marine long seasonal migrations as mammals other whales Plankton. fish. krill. Hunt in packs. Slow and easily hunted. their complex songs can last 20 min.

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