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    Antarctica ( / ænˈtɑːrktɪkə / ( listen)) [note 1] is Earth 's southernmost continent. Situated almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle and surrounded by the Southern Ocean, it contains the geographic South Pole. Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent, being nearly twice the size of Australia and larger than Europe, and has an ...

    • 14,200,000 km², 5,500,000 sq mi
    • <0.01/km², <0.03/sq mi
    • 1,000 to 5,000 (seasonal)
    • Antarctic
  2. Where is Antarctica? The seventh continent in the world, the base of the globe, the windiest, coldest and driest continent on earth – Antarctica certainly lives up to its nickname, 'The Ice'. Most of Antarctica fits within the Antarctic Circle – a line of latitude sitting at around 66.5° south of the equator.

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    • Setting
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    The continent of Antarctica makes up most of the Antarctic region. The Antarctic is a cold, remote area in the Southern Hemisphere encompassed by the Antarctic Convergence. The Antarctic Convergence is an uneven line of latitude where cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the warmer waters of the worlds oceans. The Antarctic covers approxim...

    The Antarctic also includes island territories within the Antarctic Convergence. The islands of the Antarctic region are: South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands, all claimed by the United Kingdom; Peter I Island and Bouvet Island, claimed by Norway; Heard and McDonald islands, claimed by Australi...

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet dominates the region. It is the largest single piece of ice on Earth. This ice sheet even extends beyond the continent when snow and ice are at their most extreme. The ice surface dramatically grows in size from about 3 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles) at the end of summer to about 19 million square kilom...

    Climate Antarctica has an extremely cold, dry climate. Winter temperatures along Antarcticas coast generally range from -10° Celsius to -30° Celsius (14° Fahrenheit to -22° Fahrenheit). During the summer, coastal areas hover around 0°C (32°F) but can reach temperatures as high as 9°C (48°F). In the mountainous, interior regions, temperatures are mu...

    Antarctic upwelling is so strong that it helps move water around the entire planet. This movement is aided by strong winds that circumnavigate Antarctica. Without the aid of the oceans around Antarctica, the Earths waters would not circulate in a balanced and efficient manner.

    Lichens, mosses, and terrestrial algae are among the few species of vegetation that grow in Antarctica. More of this vegetation grows in the northern and coastal regions of Antarctica, while the interior has little if any vegetation.

    The ocean, however, teems with fish and other marine life. In fact, the waters surrounding Antarctica are among the most diverse on the planet. Upwelling allows phytoplankton and algae to flourish. Thousands of species, such as krill, feed on the plankton. Fish and a large variety of marine mammals thrive in the cold Antarctic waters. Blue, fin, hu...

    One of the apex, or top, predators in Antarctica is the leopard seal. The leopard seal is one of the most aggressive of all marine predators. This 3-meter (9-foot), 400-kilogram (882-pound) animal has unusually long, sharp teeth, which it uses to tear into prey such as penguins and fish.

    The most familiar animal of Antarctica is probably the penguin. They have adapted to the cold, coastal waters. Their wings serve as flippers as they fly through the water in search of prey such as squid and fish. Their feathers retain a layer of air, helping them keep warm in the freezing water.

    Davis Station is Australias busiest scientific research station. It is located in an ice-free area known as the Vestfold Hills. Like most research stations in Antarctica, food is very important at Davis Station. Residents live and work closely together in facilities and outdoor environments that are often very monotonous. As such, food plays an imp...

    Food supplies are, however, very limited. The food supply for a year at Davis Station is rationed, per person per year. Residents live mostly on frozen and canned food. The chef is often thought of as one of the most important people at Davis Station. He or she must make sure to use all commodities in such a way that is both creative and sustainabl...

    Like many of Antarcticas research facilities, Davis Station has a hydroponic greenhouse. Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants with water and nutrients only. Hydroponics requires excellent gardeners because produce is grown without soil. Fresh produce adds variety and nutrition to Antarctic meals. The greenhouse also serves as a sunroom for...

    For many European and North American powers, Antarctica represented the last great frontier for human exploration. Fueled by nationalist pride and supported by advances in science and navigation, many explorers took on the Race for the Antarctic.

    Explorers first skimmed the boundaries of Antarctica on sea voyages. By the early 20th century, explorers started to traverse the interior of Antarctica. The aim of these expeditions was often more competitive than scientific. Explorers wanted to win the Race to the South Pole more than understand Antarcticas environment. Because early explorers co...

    Each team used different methods, with drastically different levels of success. Amundsens team relied on dog sleds and skiing to reach the pole, covering as much as 64 kilometers (40 miles) per day. Scotts team, on the other hand, pulled their sleighs by hand, collecting geological samples along the way. Amundsens team became the first to reach the...

    Hoping to one-up his predecessors, Shackleton, of the United Kingdom, attempted the first transcontinental crossing of Antarctica in 1914. Shackleton planned the trip by using two ships, the Aurora and the Endurance, at opposite ends of the continent. Aurora would sail to the Ross Sea and deposit supplies. On the opposite side, Endurance would sail...

    The plan failed. The Endurance became frozen in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. The pack ice crushed and sunk the ship. Shackletons team survived for roughly four months on the ice by setting up makeshift camps. Their food sources were leopard seals, fish, and, ultimately, their sled dogs. Once the ice floe broke, expedition members used lifeboats...

    The journey of the Endurance expedition symbolizes the Heroic Age, a time of extreme sacrifice and bravery in the name of exploration and discovery. Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard, a polar explorer, summed up the Heroic Age in his book The Worst Journey in the World: \\"For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organisation, give me Scott...

    The International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58 aimed to end Cold War divisions among the scientific community by promoting global scientific exchange. The IGY prompted an intense period of scientific research in the Antarctic. Many countries conducted their first Antarctic explorations and constructed the first research stations on Antarctica....

  3. Dec 08, 2010 · Antarctica is a continent. It is Earth's fifth largest continent. Antarctica is covered in ice. Antarctica covers Earth's South Pole. What Is Antarctica Like? Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. The temperature in the winter is cold enough to freeze water all the time.

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