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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The earth is slowly heating up. This pollution blocks heat from exiting the earth's atmosphere. The heat is becoming trapped making the earth hotter and hotter over the years. . we must never forget that it is infact a delicate continent which needs our support to remain as it is for many futures to come. there is an isolated region in the atmosphere which moves in a circular motion called the polar vortex. is believed that it holds the key for answers of important questions about the past. aurora. ice. Over Antarctica. Ozone Depletion & the Green-House Effect There are many issues concerned in Antarctica today. New areas such as astrology and simulation of space life is thought to be opened in the future. present. as a continent of wonder. The research of global climates. and our future. magnetic movements. Earth science. and the eco-system have been done in Antarctica for more than 40 years. But to do so. The burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution to occur. Two of them involves the whole world. Another problem in Antarctica is the greenhouse effect.Conclusion Many fields of science are studied in Antarctica today. So all the gases float downwards toward Antarctica thus creating a hole above Antarctica. Antarctica. Researchers believe that this causes a physical sink of gases in the stratosphere (region of atmosphere 20 to 50 km above ground). atmosphere and O-zone.

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. which many believe it will be. the potential for oil pollution occurrences such as oil tanker spills. the Antarctic Treaty system currently in place offers the internationallyowned continent an opportunity to temporarily avoid such premature exploration activities.Even a slight change in the earth's temperature will result in disaster. If Antarctica is indeed eventually opened for oil exploration activities. The continent's usefulness as a scientific tool and international research station will continue to be taken advantage of and Antarctica will continue its important role in providing answers to the dilemma of climate change. Why are the Poles so cold? . the dumping of waste oil. If enough ice melts the ocean level will rise and will flood many cities and lowland areas. 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. However. The reason is that the heat will eventually melt the huge ice caps in Antarctica and in the Arctic. So many scientists are concerned and trying to figure out ways to stop this.

Since the average elevation of Antarctica is 2.5C for each 1 km). http://library. In comparison. Photo by George Tupper. As you go up in altitude. the high reflectivity (albedo) of snow and ice surfaces means that very little of the energy that reaches the ground (or ocean. the Arctic and Antarctic are also very dry. crew member Bill Dunn. it receives very little heat from the ocean. it usually stays around 30° F. The primary reason is that the sun is low on the horizon all day. the Antarctic is the driest continent on Earth. For instance. Thus. since Antarctica is a giant landmass. First. the air is much colder compared to the Arctic Ocean.org/28779/geography3. The second reason is elevation. the Arctic's icy cover is relatively thin and it has an entire ocean underneath it.Captain A. Therefore. right. which is at sea level. Also. While the water is anything but warm. even in summer. This is because the molecules of air are packed so tightly that it's as if the moisture has been squeezed out of it. allowing more ocean heat to escape into the air. In addition. the heat gained during the long summer days is small and highly dependent on topography and albedo. moderating temperatures somewhat. or ice) stays there. In addition to being cold.3 km. the air temperature decreases (by 6. WHOI. This is due in part to the fact that colder air can hold less moisture than warm air.html . which is often significantly warmer than the air above the ice.D. wet tundra and bare ground absorb more solar radiation than ice sheets. In fact. even in winter areas of open water are present in the pack ice. Why is Antarctica colder than the Arctic? There are two key reasons why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. solar energy needs to pass through more atmosphere to get to the ground. and others wield their ice mallets on Knorr's foredeck during the Labrador Sea cruise. Colburn.thinkquest. 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.

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

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

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

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

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. It has a capacity to accommodate 25 people for winter. Maitri is India's second permanent research station in Antarctica. such as biology. It was built and finished in 1989. Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. earth sciences. [edit] Milestones . communication. cold region engineering. 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[1]. a 50 year ban on mining activity was secured to restore Antarctica for the future.Antarctic Treaty serves as a model for peaceful international relations and cooperation. in front of Maitri. human physiology and medicine. atmospheric sciences. In 1991. meteorology.

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

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

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.

165 mi) and is mostly characterized by ice formations. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of the world's fresh water).0 mi) thick. about 1. sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft). alternatively. In the dry valleys the same effect occurs over a rock base. and Indian Oceans. down to 20 mm (0.000. 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.6 km (1. because they roughly correspond to the Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian. Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. . About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet.8 in) per year. it may be considered to be surrounded by the southern Pacific. Atlantic. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica.Size comparison Europe-Antarctica Centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. or by the southern waters of the World Ocean.000 sq mi).400. a sheet of ice averaging at least 1. leading to a desiccated landscape. If all of this ice were melted.[19] In most of the interior of the continent. It covers more than 14. The coastline measures 17. in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is negative.968 km (11. precipitation is very low. making it the fifth-largest continent.3 times as large as Europe. as the following table shows: Coastal types around Antarctica (Drewry.000 km2 (5.

At the edge of the continent. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89. 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. wind speeds are typically moderate. First. ice there lasts for extended time periods. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. leaving the center cold and dry.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. In the interior.[1] Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for two reasons. comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent. the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year. Second. however. where snowfalls of up to 1. on average. 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. this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. in the Transantarctic Mountains.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. During summer.[32] East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. 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. much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it.[31] For comparison.Climate Main article: Climate of Antarctica The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. and temperature decreases with elevation.2 °C (−128. Mountain glaciation . Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent. strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force.

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

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

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

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

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

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