Antarctica Size report

Antarctica environmentAntarctica is the continent surrounding the South Pole, located at the southernmost tip of the Earth, and is the coldest and driest continent on Earth. Antarctica is one of the seven continents surrounded by the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Antarctica is covered by a thick layer of ice, with an average elevation of 2,350 meters, making it the highest continent in the world. Antarctica's climate is extremely cold, and inland can be below -50°C, with the hottest summer temperatures averaging 2°C. Antarctica is also the windiest place in the world.

There are no permanent residents in Antarctica due to harsh weather conditions. Still, many countries worldwide have research stations there, some stationed year-round with scientific expeditions, and some are only open in summer.

Antarctica is unique in many ways, best known for its unique fauna: emperor penguins, chinstrap penguins, seals, whales, and especially the blue whale, the largest creature in the world. This article focus on Antarctica's size and other interesting facts.

Antarctica Basics

Antarctica was the last continent discovered by humans. While explorers had earlier reported traces of the "unknown land to the south," the earliest identified location was land south of 60° latitude by Russian, British or American crews in January 1820. Humans explored rough waters and coasts throughout the 19th century, culminating in the discovery of Antarctica. Antarctica does not belong to any one country but belongs to the entire human race. The Antarctic Treaty established the continent as a scientific reserve and prohibited any military activity. Although about 40,000 tourists visit each year, most can only travel to the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring islands by cruise ship.

Antarctica

Antarctica Size

Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent and bigger than most countries. Antarctica is also larger than all European countries combined and can comfortably accommodate the entire country of Australia. It is surrounded by sea ice which melts in the summer, giving the appearance that it is bigger in winter. However, the continent itself does not change size.

Antarctica consists of continents, continental margin ice, and islands, with a total area of 14.245 million square kilometers. The continental area is 12.393 million square kilometers. The continental margin ice area is 1.582 million, and the island area is 76,000 square kilometers.

Total Area14.245 million km2
Continental Area12.393 million km2
Continental Margin Ice Area
1.582 million km2
Island Area76,000 km2

Climate and Landscape

Antarctica is classified as a desert despite all its ice because so little moisture falls from the sky. However, Antarctica is still battered by colossal blizzards, and winds can reach 200 mph (320 km/h). The climate is extremely cold, with the extreme minimum temperature reaching -89.2°C (1983). There are twenty-four hours a day during the southern summer of "November to March," and it is not accessible from the sea in winter because temperatures can drop to -40°C with only darkness for 24 hours.

Only 2% of the entire continent is not covered by perennial ice and snow, where allows animals and plants to survive. In the Antarctic circle, there are continuous polar days in the warm season and continuous polar nights in the cold season, and there are brilliant arc-shaped aurorae.

Flora and Fauna

Antarctica is the only continent that does not have a lot of land plants and no native land mammals, reptiles, or amphibians (there are no polar bears because they are only in the Arctic). However, its coastline is home to many migratory birds and penguins, and the surrounding Southern Ocean is home to many fish and marine mammals, including whales.

Conclusion

Emperor Penguins in Antarctica

Antarctica is the world's largest continent, but it is also the coldest, most frequent, violent, and driest ice and snow desert on Earth. Antarctica is the large reservoir of fresh water in the world. If all the Antarctic ice sheets melt, the world's sea level will rise by 60-80 meters, and most coastal areas will be submerged. There is no doubt that improving climate change and protecting the environment is the most important step for the future of Antarctica and the future of all humankind.


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