Antarctica is the coldest piece of land on earth. This is the 5th largest continent. Antarctica information tells that situated in the southern hemisphere, southern ocean surrounds Antarctica. The average thickness of the ice covering almost 98% of Antarctica is 1.6 km.
The information about Antarctica helps the researchers as well as the general people. Antarctica was a part of Gondwana about 170 million years ago. Today's Antarctica took the shape around 25 million years back.
In the interior part of Antarctica, the minimum temperature ranges from -80°C to -90°C. During summer, the temperature lies between 5°C and 15°C near the coast. Global warming has been a great issue in recent time. As, global temperature increase, a few degree Celsius rise in temperature in Antarctica may cause devastating flood and loss of life in other parts of the earth.
There is no permanent resident in Antarctica. However, governments from many countries conduct research work throughout the year there. In winter, people are less there. Earlier, there was no guide to Antarctica. Antarctica information was almost nothing in hand of the people like Scott and Amundsen who took lots of pain to uncover the ice-land to the world.
Many countries like Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom have put their claims on different parts of Antarctica. However, claims of Britain, Argentina and Chile overlap. The greatest claim of Antarctica is made by Australia. According to Antarctica Information, there is no official time zone. Mostly satellite phones are used on cruises boarding tourists. Sightseeing is observed through airplanes or helicopters.
History of Antarctica
The History of Antarctica throws light on the gradual evolution of this continent. It was on 17th January 1973; Captain James Cook became the first person to cross the Antarctic Circle. After that in 1820 three individuals named Fabial Gotlieb Bellingshausen, Nathaniel Palmer and Edward Bransfield claimed the credit of spotting the actual sight of
Antarctica.Among them Bellingshausen first spotted the land on 27th January 1820, ten months before Palmer and three days before Bransfield.
Bellingshausen along with Petrovich Lazarev reached a place within 32 km of the Antarctic mainland on 27th January 1820. The actual data states that the first person to land in Antarctica was John Davis on 7th February 1821. In December 1839 the US Navy conducted the United States Exploring Expedition or the Wikes Expedition and it was reported that this expedition ultimately led to the discovery of the Antarctica, west of the Balleny Islands. This place was named Wikes Land and till today that name continues.
In 1841 James Clark Ross discovered the Ross Island. In 1911 Captain Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole and in 1912 Captain Scott and his team members died during their expedition. In 1928 George Hubert Wilkins made his first flight journey to Antarctica and the next year Richard Byrd flew over the South Pole. From 1945-57 the largest expedition titled Operation Highjump was conducted in Antarctica by the US Navy. In 1956 the first winter was spent at the McMurdo Station and finally in 1991 24 countries signed the Treaty of Antarctica that prevents any kind of oil and mineral exploration.
Geography of Antarctica
The continent of Antarctica is the southernmost continent of the world and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Antarctica states that it is the fifth largest continent covering an area of 14.4 million square kilometers.
The coastline of Antarctica extends up to 17,968km. Between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea the Tran Antarctic Mountain has segmented Antarctica into two parts. The part east of the Ross Sea and West of the Weddell Sea is called the Western Antarctica and the remaining half is called the Eastern Antarctica. 98% of this continent is covered by ice sheet that accounts for almost 90% of the world's ice. The precipitation is quite low in most of the areas. The west of Antarctica is bounded by West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
The topography of Antarctica includes numerous mountains and high points. Mount Vinson Massif is the highest mountain peak located in the Ellsworth Mountain Range.
Antarctica consists of many volcanoes like the Mount Erebus, Deception Island. The Erebus is the southernmost volcano and the Deception Island is noted for its massive irruption in 1970. Minor irruptions and lava flows are common phenomena of this region. An under water volcano was located in 2004 in the Antarctic Peninsula by the American and Canadian researchers. Of more than 70 lakes found in Antarctica, Lake Vostok is the largest of the sub glacial lakes.
Demographics of Antarctica
Antarctica population mainly consists of the researchers and the scientists, who are constantly engaged in carrying out various experiments all through the year. The Antarctica population reveals that there are no permanent residents in this continent.
The number of people carrying out different experiments in this continent varies between 1000 and 4000. During the summer season the number reaches to 4000 and in the winter it comes down to 1000.
The first semi permanent population of Antarctica region was the British and the Americans who did spent more than a year in South Georgia. The era for the whale hunters lasted till 1966. During that period the population during summer time used to be around 1000 and during winter it came down to 200. The whale hunters were mainly the British and the Norwegians.
The noted settlements were Husvik, Prince Olav Harbour, King Edward Point, Grytviken, Stromness, Ocean Harbour, Godthul and few others.
A first member of Antarctic region can be given to a Norwegian girl named Solveig Gunbjorg Jacobsen born in Grytviken on 8th October 1913. Rmilio Marcos Palma was the first individual to be born on Antarctic mainland at Base Esperanza. Juan Pablo Camacho was born on 1984 at Eduardo Frei Montalva Station. He was the first person of Chilean origin to be born in Antarctica.
Global Warming in Antarctica
Antarctica global warming has become a burning issue of the present time. Global warming in Antarctica will pose a serious threat to the rise in water level. Hence, Antarctica global warming has become a great concern for the scientists and researchers.
As most of this continent is covered by ice, the impact of global warming is more acutely felt here. With the increase in the number of automobiles, air pollution has been on the increase in the last 20 years. This is one of the major causes of global warming. Moreover, the chimneys of the factories all over the world emit various types of gases, which pollute the air to a great extent. If the air continues to get polluted at such a fast rate, it will definitely cause a rise in the general temperature throughout the world. This rise in temperature is resulting in the gradual melting of the vast thick ice-sheets in Antarctica.
Last Updated on: February 20, 2020
- Some facts and figures listed below will help to understand the serious consequence of the global warming in Antarctica. These are:
- The Antarctic Peninsula is particularly sensitive to small rises in the annual average temperature.
- Since 1974 seven gigantic ice shelves have got reduced in area by 13,500 square kilometers.
- Due to severe global warming in Antarctica, the Larsen B ice shelf has lost 3,250 square kilometers into the ocean.
- The global warming has also resulted in increased rainfall in some parts of Antarctica.
- The global warming in Antarctica has also resulted in the death of various animals like the penguins.
- The effect of global warming is more deeply felt on western part of the Antarctic Peninsula.
- There is evidence from one study that Antarctica is warming as a result of human carbon dioxide emissions
- Each year a large area of low ozone concentration or "ozone hole" grows over Antarctica. This hole covers almost the whole continent and was at its largest in September 2008, when the longest lasting hole on record remained until the end of December.