Facts about Incredible Antarctica (Pictures)

Facts about Incredible Antarctica:

  • Name Antarctica means “opposite to the north”
  • Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole
  • Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent

Amundsen-Scott marsstation ray h edit
A full moon and 25-second exposure allowed sufficient light for this photo to be taken at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station during the long Antarctic night. The station can be seen at far left, the power plant in the center and the mechanic’s garage in the lower right. The green light in the background is the Aurora Australis

 

  • At 14.0 million km2 (5.4 million sq mi), it is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.
  • Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages at least 1 mile (1.6 km) in thickness.

Antarctica at its finest
Antarctica at its finest by HamishM

Nesting Gentoos
Nesting Gentoos by HamishM

  • 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
  • The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89 °C (−129 °F), snowfalls of up to 1.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded

Antarctica kayakers
Antarctica kayakers by Polar Cruises

Antarctica Trip 2001
Antarctica Trip 2001 by John “Pathfinder” Lester

  • Only cold-adapted organisms survive there, including many types of algae, animals (for example mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades), bacteria, fungi, plants, and protista
  • The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by 12 countries; to date, 49 countries have signed the treaty. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, and protects the continent’s ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations

 

Antarctica - Gerlache strait
Antarctica – Gerlache strait by Rita Willaert

Antarctica Trip 2001
Antarctica Trip 2001 by John “Pathfinder” Lester

  • East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation
  • The first child born in the southern polar region was Norwegian girl Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen, born in Grytviken on 8 October 1913, and her birth was registered by the resident British Magistrate of South Georgia

First morning in Antarctica
First morning in Antarctica by HamishM

  • About 1150 species of fungi have been recorded from Antarctica, of which about 750 are non-lichen-forming and 400 are lichen-forming
  • The flora of the continent largely consists of bryophytes (there are about 100 species of mosses and 25 species of liverworts), with only two species of flowering plants, both found in the Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctica - Neko Harbour
Antarctica – Neko Harbour by Rita Willaert

Antarctica - Neko Harbour
Antarctica – Neko Harbour by Rita Willaert

  • The Snow Petrel is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica
  • Antarctic sea life includes penguins, blue whales, orcas, colossal squids and fur seals
  • More than 235 marine organisms live in both polar regions, having bridged the gap of 12,000 km (7,456 mi). Large animals such as some cetaceans and birds make the round trip annually. More surprising are small forms of life such as mudworms, sea cucumbers and free-swimming snails found in both polar oceans. Various factors may aid in their distribution – fairly uniform temperatures of the deep ocean at the poles and the equator which differ by no more than 5 °C, and the major current systems or marine conveyor belt which transport egg and larvae stages

Antarctica - Gerlache strait
Antarctica – Gerlache strait by Rita Willaert

Antarctica - Gerlache strait
Antarctica – Gerlache strait by Rita Willaert

  • Seven hundred species of algae exist, most of which are phytoplankton. Multicolored snow algae and diatoms are especially abundant in the coastal regions during the summer
  • On February 6, 2013, scientists reported that bacteria were found living in the cold and dark in a lake buried a half-mile deep under the ice in Antarctica

Antarctica onboard MV Orion
Antarctica onboard MV Orion by GlobalCitizen01

Antarctica - Neko Harbour

Antarctica - Neko Harbour
Antarctica – Neko Harbour by Rita Willaert

  • The illegal fishing of toothfish has been increasing, with estimates of 32,000 tonnes (35,300 short tons) in 2000
  • Coal, hydrocarbons, iron ore, platinum, copper, chromium, nickel, gold and other minerals have been found, they have not been in large enough quantities to exploit
  • Since 1969, over 30,000 tourists have been to Antarctica

Antarctica - Neko Harbour
Antarctica – Neko Harbour by Rita Willaert

Antarctica - Neko Harbour
Antarctica – Neko Harbour by Rita Willaert

NASA Scientific Balloon in Antarctica
NASA Scientific Balloon in Antarctica by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Mackenzie Bay, Antarctica
Mackenzie Bay, Antarctica by NASA Earth Observatory

View of Collins Glacier in Antarctica
View of Collins Glacier in Antarctica by United Nations Photo

  • About 30 countries maintain about seventy research stations (40 year-round or permanent, and 30 summer-only) in Antarctica, with an approximate population of 4000 in summer and 1000 in winter.
  • Meteorites from Antarctica are an important area of study of material formed early in the solar system; most are thought to come from asteroids, but some may have originated on larger planets

Toyota Hilux conquers Antarctica on jet fuel
Toyota Hilux conquers Antarctica on jet fuel by Toyota UK

Birth of an Iceberg, Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica
Birth of an Iceberg, Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica by NASA Earth Observatory

Sea Ice and Icebergs off East Antarctica
Sea Ice and Icebergs off East Antarctica by NASA Earth Observatory

The Military Sealift Command-chartered cargo ship MV Green Wave sits at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
The Military Sealift Command-chartered cargo ship MV Green Wave sits at McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Some of Antarctica has been warming up; particularly strong warming has been noted on the Antarctic Peninsula. A study by Eric Steig published in 2009 noted for the first time that the continent-wide average surface temperature trend of Antarctica is slightly positive at >0.05 °C (0.09 °F) per decade from 1957 to 2006. This study also noted that West Antarctica has warmed by more than 0.1 °C (0.2 °F) per decade in the last 50 years, and this warming is strongest in winter and spring. This is partly offset by fall cooling in East Antarctica. There is evidence from one study that Antarctica is warming as a result of human carbon dioxide emissions

Syntrichia antarctica (Moss)
Syntrichia antarctica (Moss) by Arthur Chapman

U.S. Ambassador in Antarctica 2010 - Day 5
U.S. Ambassador in Antarctica 2010 – Day 5 by US Embassy New Zealand

U.S. Ambassador in Antarctica 2010 - Day 5
U.S. Ambassador in Antarctica 2010 – Day 5 by US Embassy New Zealand

Leichen - Antarctica
Leichen – Antarctica by Chantal Steyn

Gateway to Antarctica
Gateway to Antarctica by leosagnotti

U.S. Ambassador in Antarctica 2010 - Day 5
U.S. Ambassador in Antarctica 2010 – Day 5 by US Embassy New Zealand

Vesleskarvet - Antarctica 58
Vesleskarvet – Antarctica 58 by Chantal Steyn

Antarctica
Antarctica by Eugene Kaspersky
Sources Flickr and Wikipedia

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *