Antarctica is a vast ice-covered landmass encircled by the sea. During the summer, Antarctica becomes more than twice the size of Europe and sixty-two times the size of the United Kingdom.
In terms of general area, Antarctica is the fifth-biggest continent in the world. The continent has the unique feature of having no permanent residents. However, it hosts up to 5,000 scientists and researchers. The most popular is the WWF’s help crew that does research on Emperors and Adelie penguins.
Due to its harsh weather conditions and less so to its far location, Antarctica is a continent that is yet to be explored by travelers and tourists.
- Antarctica Physical Geography
- Antarctic Climate
Antarctica Physical Geography
The Antarctic consists of island territories that are claimed by various countries. South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands are all claimed by the United Kingdom.
Peter I Island and Bouvet Island are claimed by Norway; Heard and McDonald Islands are claimed by Australia; and Scott Island and the Balleny Islands are claimed by New Zealand.
Apart from the sovereignty the different counties have over the continent, the whole of Antarctica has more or less similar geographical features. The Antarctic Ice Sheet dominates the region. It is the maximum critical single piece of ice on Earth. It even extends beyond the continent while snow and ice are at their most extreme.
The ice ground dramatically grows in period from about 3 million square kilometers at the end of summer season to about 19 million square kilometers by winter. Ice sheet boom specially takes place at the coastal ice shelves, by and large the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ronne Ice Shelf.
Ice shelves are floating sheets of ice which can be connected to the continent. Glacial ice moves from the continent`s interior to the ones lower-elevation ice shelves at expenses of 10 to 1,000 meters annually.
Antarctica has a number of mountain summits, which includes the Transantarctic Mountains, that divide the continent into eastern and western regions. A few of these summits have a height of more than 4,500 meters. The elevation of the Antarctic Ice Sheet itself is about 2,000 meters and reaches 4,000 meters above sea level near the center of the continent.
Without any ice, Antarctica would possibly end up as a big peninsula and archipelago of mountainous islands, known as Lesser Antarctica, and a single huge landmass about the scale of Australia, known as Greater Antarctica. These regions have one-of-a-type geologies.
Greater Antarctica, or East Antarctica, includes older, igneous and metamorphic rocks. Lesser Antarctica, or West Antarctica, is crafted from younger, volcanic and sedimentary rock. Lesser Antarctica, in fact, is part of the “Ring of Fire,” a tectonically active location throughout the Pacific Ocean.
The majority of the islands and archipelagos of Lesser Antarctica are volcanic and intently glaciated. They are also home to a number of immoderate mountains. Tectonic hobby is the interaction of plates on Earth’s crust, frequently resulting in earthquakes and volcanoes. Mount Erebus, positioned on Antarctica’s Ross Island, is the southernmost active volcano on Earth.
The oceans surrounding Antarctica provide an essential physical detail of the Antarctic region. The waters surrounding Antarctica go as deep as 4,000 to 5,000 meters.
So as you can see the continent has generally rough terrains. The ice and snow cover the continent constantly, increasing the cruelty of the continent.
Despite all of the ice covering the continent, Antarctica is actually considered a desert. This is because the continent gets no rain all year long. Antarctica gets around 50 millimeters of falling snow every year. The Sahara desert gets twice as much rain annually.
As you might expect, Antarctica is the world’s highest, driest, windiest, and coldest continent. The low temperature has been reported as 94 degrees Celsius. In actuality, though, it would not snow much. The continent has extremely dry weather; thus, it is classified as a polar barren tract.
The beach front spaces of Antarctica get more fallen dampness, yet at the same time normal just 200 millimeter each year. Nonetheless, in contrast to most abandoned regions, water does not infiltrate the dirt. All things being equal, snow piles up. Antarctica will shock you with astounding airborne photographs that show how much snow has piled over the years.
Antarctica most often gets hit by tremendous blizzards. Like a desert dust storm, the breeze gets snow from the beginning and blows an immense white cover. Winds can get as fast as 320 km per hour.
Antarctica is in the Southern half of the globe, so the seasons are something contrary to the northern seasons. Summer keeps going from October to February, and winter reaches out for the remainder of the year.
Summers in Antarctica normally above freezing, and the uneven East Antarctica is colder than West Antarctica. The world’s most minimal temperature of – 89.6 degrees Celsius was estimated at Vostok, a Russian exploration base inland of Antarctica.
Despite the numerous challenges, Antarctica is beaming with life. It is home to billions of krill, hundreds of thousands of seals and greater penguins than everywhere else on the planet.
Antarctica is rich in organisms, including magnetic super-animals that you most probably have seen photographs and records of. However, you may be surprised to find that they are living a more fascinating and complex life than you might imagine. In reality, these animals depend on the ocean.
Here are some of the most popular animals and birds that call the freezing continent home:
When it comes to the wildlife of Antarctica, penguins are the focus of everyone’s attention. Eight of the 18 penguin types that exist in the world live in Antarctica and the Subantarctic Islands.
These flightless seabirds are amazing swimmers although they can be a little terrible on land. For a torpedo-smooth body, wing-like fins are used to propel the water and feet (and possibly the tail) are used to control the course of their swimming adventures.
Penguins live a life of swimming to feed then coming back to the frozen land. They come to rest, lay eggs and live. With their numerically accurate clusters, they have promoted some really meaningful ways to thrive in the relentless climate of Antarctica.
Antarctica swarms with hundreds of thousands of astonishing seals. From the crabeater seal that does not eat crabs, to the Weddell seal that sings like a space intruder, Antarctic seals are interesting and sometimes somewhat fuzzy.
Ensured under the Antarctic Arrangement’s Show for the Preservation of Antarctic Seals, these marine warm blooded animals are thriving in the cool shelter of the Southern Sea.
There are different types of seals that take shelter in the Southern Sea. These include Weddell seals, Crabeater seals, Leopard seals, Southern elephant seals and others.
During the Antarctic summer, whales appear in the Antarctic waters in very large schools. As the whales migrate through Antarctica, they devour abundance of Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba) that twists withinside the midst of the ocean ice.
Annually, the whales start to show up in Antarctica in November. They reach the highest number in the month of February. This means they migrate through Antarctica during the Antarctic summer.
The snow petrel is one of the Antarctic’s littlest, yet generally lovely, creatures. They are as white as ice is, aside from their bruised eyes and snout. They are about the same size as a pigeon. However, they are intriguing on the grounds that, despite the fact that they are so little, they are powerful and figure out how to endure the super Antarctic conditions and wind-chill.
Truth be told, snow petrels are tough to the point that they can live for as long as 20 years. Since snow petrels are so seemingly perpetual, their populace is very sound; indeed, there are around 4 million snow petrels in nature!
Snow Petrels lay their eggs from October to November. The eggs are then incubated for around a month and a half before the new chicks hitch. Snow petrels can be found close to untamed water – near pressing ice or ceaseless ice around the Antarctic landmass.
Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba) are small crustaceans with huge, black eyes and small legs known as thoracopods. They feed normally on phytoplankton, and are observed in huge numbers throughout the Southern Ocean.
Krill generally tend to emigrate vertically withinside the water column, growing to the floor and offering meals for predators at night, and sinking into the depths for the duration of the day.
There is a predicted 500 trillion Antarctic krill withinside the Southern Ocean, weighing 379 million tons. Scientists estimate that about half of that is taken up with the aid of using the seals, penguins and whales that rely upon krill as their foremost supply of meals.
Moreover, during whales migration season, krill pose a much needed meal for the tired predators. They get eaten in abundance, but it is all good for the continent’s ecosystem to stay balanced.
Antarctic krill is likewise commercially harvested with the aid of using humans, in the main withinside the Scotia Sea, to the north of the Antarctic Peninsula. The foremost makes use of harvested krill are aquaculture and aquarium feed, human nutritional dietary supplements and bait in recreation fishing.
Antarctic krill fisheries are regulated and monitored by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The wandering albatross has the longest wingspan of any chicken on earth. The beauty of this rarely seen bird is a sight to behold. Their wingspan can dip 3.1 to 3.5m and, as a result, they’re capable of flying for exquisite distances without using a bargain energy.
The way wandering albatross fly is so prolonged as a result of both having a very long wingspan as well as the Antarctic’s robust winds.
Wandering albatrosses are usually decided withinside the sub-Antarctic regions – specially on exposed ridges on Prince Edward Island and South Georgia. Once they find a mate, they stay with them for life.
Unfortunately, these wonderful birds are endangered. They keep declining in numbers as a result of the amount of deaths from longline fishing hooks. Furthermore, wandering albatross have slow breeding techniques which do not help in modifying their numbers fast enough.
So, as you’ve seen, Antarctica is full of wonders that are waiting to be observed. It deserves recognition as do the stunning places around the world.
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