Interesting Facts About Antarctica's Geography and Weather
The literal meaning of Antarctica is “opposite of arctic”, which is concentrically lying around the South Pole. Despite being a large part of our Earth’s total land area, Antarctica is one of the little known continents to many of us. In this hub I will share a few but striking facts about Antarctica. The following are the list of facts that you may find interesting.
- Antarctica is the fifth largest continent of the world in terms of landmass.
- Almost all the land of Antarctica is covered with ice.
- The total area of Antarctica is 14.2 million square kilometers.
- About 90 percent of the world’s ice sheet is in Antarctica, which is almost 30 million square cubic kilometers.
- The average thickness of ice sheet is around 2000 meters.
- Fossil evidence suggests that much of the Antarctica was populated with trees, about 245 to 66 million years back.
- There are some rare cold-tolerant plants that can survive a longer period of time(months) without photosynthesis process.
- There are 800 species of plant: most of which are lichens and some are bryophytes
- The south of Antarctica host about 45 species of birds including the flightless Penguins.
- During the autumn time most of bird species leave the continent except the Penguins.
- The number of emperor Penguin is over one million.
- Unlike any other continents on earth, all the mammals living in the area are marine-animals: sea seals, whales, porpoises and dolphins.
- Apart from the local mammals , our own species –the humans- has introduced some semi-permanent residents to this alien content, and those new immigrants are sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits and rats that are also seen to live side by side with human in other continents all over the world.
- The average elevation of Antarctica from the sea level is about 5000 to 7000 feet, which makes it the highest continent of the world. The second highest continent is Asia with average elevation of 3000 feet.
- The average winter temperature is -89.2° C to -60° C.
- Antarctic mid-summer can be as high as 15° C.
- You can experience windchill effect in this continent, which is a heat loss phenomenon that explains the fact that high wind-speed can accelerate the loss of your body temperature than what low wind speed does.
- The three people who claim the first sightings of Antarctic, in 1820, are: Fabian Gottlied( a Russian expeditor), Edward Bransfield( a Englishman) and Nathaneil Palmer(An America).
Antarctica in 5 minutes
Facts about Human Intervention in Antarctica:
- Rabbits, introduced by humans, exterminated most of the local species of cabbage in some parts of Antarctica
- The increasing number of tourists are causing problems to the ecosystem.
- The community of tussock is decreasing.
Do humans live in Antarctica?
Yes, some men are stationed in Antarctica: most of them live there for research purposes.
What I have to do if I want to go to Antarctica?
If you are a resident of any of the following countries, you can easily plan a tour to Antarctica:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
You must be wondering why I am biased only to those four countries. To solidify my claim, I have added a Google map so you can see for yourself how close those four countries are from Antarctica.
As the scientific knowledge about this alien continent is increasing every year, we can expect that as a world’s largest fresh water reservoirs, Antarctica should be stay as clean as possible, unlike the other continents.