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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Introducing Antarctica

Antarctica is the southernmost continent as well as the fifth largest. The South Pole is located in the Antarctic region. A

The Antarctica Treaty came into effect in 1961. The treaty was created as a combined effort of 12 countries that was interested in the continent. The countries that agreed Antarctica would be used for peaceful purposes only included

  • Argentina                    Australia 
  • Belgium                      Chile
  • France                          Japan
  • New Zealand                Norway
  • South Africa                 USSR
  • USA 

Antarctica is the home of the penguins with eight of the eighteen species of penguins in the world call the Antarctic and subantartic regions home. 

Antarctica is as dry as any dessert. Most desserts are sandy and hot but that does not define a dessert. A dessert is defined as a landscape that receives little precipitation. It does not rain or snow in Antarctica helping to define Antarctica as a polar desert. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on Earth. The extreme temperatures stay cold enough constantly to freeze water. Thus making Antarctica a forest of ice sheets, glaciers and icebergs.

Only about 1 % of Antarctica is permanently ice free. The continent is primarily covered in ice with an average thickness of 1.6 km. This ice accounts for about 90% of the world's fresh water.

Unlike many other places on Earth there are no indigenous population. Scientists are stationed at research bases across the continent but no one has a permanent home in Antarctica. Summer months may see a population of four to five thousand residents during summer but that number decreases  to around 1000 residents during the harsher winter months. Summer months share continuous sunlight and winter will bring no sunlight at all. All though some scientists will stay in Antarctica for years.

The South Pole sits right in the middle of Antarctica. The longitude lines meet at this point and forces the area to be inclusive all time zones. There are no permanent residents in Antarctica with one of its two season having more residents than the other. Those that live and travel to the continent follow the time zones of their own countries.

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