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Interesting Facts About Antarctica's Geography and Weather

Updated on September 10, 2014

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 map
antarctica map | Source
sailing in antarctica
sailing in antarctica | Source
Aerial view of SW Antarctic Peninsula region, picture taken on February 9 2011
Aerial view of SW Antarctic Peninsula region, picture taken on February 9 2011 | Source

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:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • 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.

Antarctica Time lapse

Recovery of a meteorite in Antarctica by members of the U.S. Antarctic Search team recovering meteorite in Antartica, this photo was taken in 2001
Recovery of a meteorite in Antarctica by members of the U.S. Antarctic Search team recovering meteorite in Antartica, this photo was taken in 2001 | Source

Do you plan to visit Antarctica?

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    • profile image

      Stefan 4 years ago

      Exactly sea level is rising not deincnilg. Although all the three participants has highlighted advent severe problem Bangladesh is going to encounter due to climate change but it would have been perhaps relevant if they would have also mentioned how to address the problem. I think major players who are responsible for this should commit to take steps to deal with it.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 5 years ago

      @James: I always love reading your inspiring feedback and your presence in my hubs. Thank you so much James.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

      "•The average thickness of ice sheet is around 2000 meters"

      WOW!! That is incredible.

      Thank you for the good read. I enjoyed your fine Hub and learned much.


    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Interesting facts! Thank you for sharing!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, fascinating look at Antarctica, I can't believe we introduced rabbits there! poor little things! lol! and all those Emperor penguins! really interesting, thanks!

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 6 years ago

      @Lady_E: I guess people love exotic environments.I don't like cold weather either.Don't forget to visit my hubs for planning your visit to Antarctica.thanks :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting read. It's a beautiful place but I doubt I could visit due to the cold weather. -89... Oh, Andromida. Lol. Thats Freeeeeeezing.

      Thanks for sharing the interesting Facts. :)

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 6 years ago

      @fen lander: yes, you are right about that UFO coming out of south pole, which is part of a hollow earth speculation.thank you so much :)

    • fen lander profile image

      fen lander 6 years ago from Whitstable

      What about the big hole where UFO's come through? isn't that on the South Pole?

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 6 years ago

      @CarliFrenneman:the number of species surprised me too.thanks for your feedback.

    • CarliFrenneman profile image

      CarliFrenneman 6 years ago

      800 species of plants! That's crazy. I would have guessed 12...