But tropical palm trees once flourished there. Antarctica, the world’s southernmost continent, is almost wholly covered by an ice sheet and is about 5.5 million square miles (14.2 million square km) in size. , A study from 2014 estimated that during the Pleistocene, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) thinned by at least 500 m (1,600 ft), and that thinning since the Last Glacial Maximum for the EAIS area is less than 50 m (160 ft) and probably started after c. 14 ka. Some environmentalists and scientists have made a call for stricter regulations for ships and a tourism quota. The islands do have vegetation. In January 1840, terra firma at Antarctica was discovered for the first time, almost simultaneously, by the United States Exploring Expedition, under Lieut.  The extent of sea ice around Antarctica, in terms of square kilometres of coverage, has seen no significant trend in the satellite era (1978-2018), with initial growth being reversed in the last years of the record.  The first women to step onto the South Pole were Pam Young, Jean Pearson, Lois Jones, Eileen McSaveney, Kay Lindsay and Terry Tickhill in 1969.  Invertebrate life includes microscopic mites like the Alaskozetes antarcticus, lice, nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, krill and springtails. It is clear that a good vegetation cover, containing many elements that still exist in some southern hemisphere cold temperate rain forests such as Tasmania, New Zealand and southern South America, continued in Antarctica until about 35 million years ago. New types of meteorites and rare meteorites have been found. More than 235 marine organisms live in both polar regions, having bridged the gap of 12,000 km (7,456 mi). Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink (1 December 1864 – 21 April 1934) was an Anglo-Norwegian polar explorer and a pioneer of modern Antarctic travel. , The first child born in the southern polar region was Norwegian girl Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen, born in Grytviken on 8 October 1913, and her birth was registered by the resident British Magistrate of South Georgia. The illegal fishing of toothfish has been increasing, with estimates of 32,000 tonnes (35,000 short tons) in 2000. Antarctica is the Earth's southernmost continent.It is on the South Pole.It is almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle.Around Antarctica is the Southern Ocean.It is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. The orbital distance contributes to a colder Antarctic winter (and a warmer Antarctic summer) but the first two effects have more impact. Recent decades have witnessed several dramatic collapses of large ice shelves around the coast of Antarctica, especially along the Antarctic Peninsula. These include South Georgia, the volcanic South Sandwich Islands and the South Orkneys in the Scotia Sea as well as the remote South Shetland Islands near the Antarctic …  The total contribution to sea level rise has been estimated as 8 mm to 14 mm of sea level rise. , Ozone depletion may have a dominant role in governing climatic change in Antarctica (and a wider area of the Southern Hemisphere).  Medical physicians have made discoveries concerning the spreading of viruses and the body's response to extreme seasonal temperatures.  Conversely, the South Pole in East Antarctica barely warmed last century, but temperatures shall have three times the global average in the last three decades. , In September 2018, researchers at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency released a high resolution terrain map (detail down to the size of a car, and less in some areas) of Antarctica, named the "Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica" (REMA). In fact, the waters surrounding Antarctica are among the most diverse on the planet. , Other countries participating as members of the Antarctic Treaty have a territorial interest in Antarctica, but the provisions of the Treaty do not allow them to make their claims while it is in force. Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, encapsulating the South Pole. Sea ice extent expands annually in the Antarctic winter and most of this ice melts in the summer. , There is some evidence that surface warming in Antarctica is due to human greenhouse gas emissions, but this is difficult to determine due to internal variability. Vegetation definition, all the plants or plant life of a place, taken as a whole: the vegetation of the Nile valley.  Qantas resumed commercial overflights to Antarctica from Australia in the mid-1990s. The separation of South America from Antarctica 30–35 million years ago allowed the Antarctic Circumpolar Currentto form, which isolated Antarctica climatically and cau…  The first women to set foot on Antarctica did so in the 1930s with Caroline Mikkelsen landing on an island of Antarctica in 1935, and Ingrid Christensen stepping onto the mainland in 1937. , The terrestrial and native year-round species appear to be the descendants of ancestors who lived in geothermally warmed environments during the last ice age, when these areas were the only places on the continent not covered by ice. Under such severe and harsh conditions there is hardly any vegetation in the Antarctic. By the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 Ma, Antarctica (then connected to Australia) still had a subtropical climate and flora, complete with a marsupial fauna. , In 2002 the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen-B ice shelf collapsed.  Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of 200 mm (7.9 in) along the coast and far less inland; yet 80% of the world freshwater reserves are stored there, enough to raise global sea levels by about 60 metres (200 ft) if all of it were to melt. Antarctic sightseeing flights (which did not land) operated out of Australia and New Zealand until the fatal crash of Air New Zealand Flight 901 in 1979 on Mount Erebus, which killed all 257 aboard. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest continent. The subarctic climate (also called subpolar climate, or boreal climate) is a climate characterised by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool summers. Add 24 hours of darkness during the winter months, and it’s a wonder anything lives there. Despite the odds, there are still plants that have evolved specifically to live in these conditions, and have thrived where no others have dar… Antarctica - Antarctica - Economic resources: The search for economic resources led to the first sustained human interaction in Antarctica. There is also evidence of volcanic activity, even after the ice sheet had formed, in Marie Byrd Land and Alexander Island. He justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra Australis (1814) by writing in the introduction: There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude; the name Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical importance of this country and of its situation on the globe: it has antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference to either of the two claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable than any other which could have been selected. , Emilio Marcos Palma was the first person born south of the 60th parallel south, the first born on the Antarctic mainland, and the only living human to be the first born on any continent. Precipitation is low (most of Antarctica is a desert) and almost always in the form of snow, which accumulates and forms the giant ice sheets which cover the continent. The Antarctic Convergence is an uneven line of latitude where cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the warmer waters of the worlds oceans. The overfishing of krill, which plays a large role in the Antarctic ecosystem, led officials to enact regulations on fishing. This was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. It is located in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere.  Over the second half of the 20th century, the Antarctic Peninsula was the fastest-warming place on Earth, closely followed by West Antarctica, but these trends weakened in the early 21st-century. At the continent's edge, strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. Antarctica has only two varieties of flowering plants which grow during the brief summer. The research is part of the global Census of Marine Life and has disclosed some remarkable findings. The ecotone (or ecological boundary region) between the tundra and the forest is known as the tree line or timberline. , The first semi-permanent inhabitants of regions near Antarctica (areas situated south of the Antarctic Convergence) were British and American sealers who used to spend a year or more on South Georgia, from 1786 onward. Tourist attractions in Antarctica are: Deception island, formerly a whaling station, is popular … , Future projections of ice loss depend on the speed of climate change mitigation and are uncertain. The ice was being held back by a "thread" of ice about 6 km (4 mi) wide, prior to its collapse on 5 April 2009.. Antarctic fisheries in 2000–01 reported landing 112,934 tonnes. Here we review the results of a series of Antarctic palynological studies that were conducted over the past fifteen years to evaluate the type of vegetation changes that occurred in Antarctica in the Paleogene and Neogene, and better constrain the timing and amplitude of these changes. A sun dog, a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon, is a bright "spot" beside the true sun. , Several governments maintain permanent staffed research stations on the continent. In some places, the way the ice flows concentrates meteorites there. The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily accessible resources, and isolation. Managers and other senior officers of the whaling stations often lived together with their families. , About 1,150 species of fungi have been recorded from Antarctica, of which about 750 are non-lichen-forming and 400 are lichen-forming. Cold conditions and absence of soil cover do not favour the growth of plants. , The Antarctic Treaty prohibits any military activity in Antarctica, including the establishment of military bases and fortifications, military manoeuvres, and weapons testing. Vegetation Island Coordinates) is a narrow island lying 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) north of Inexpressible Island and just west of the Northern Foothills, along the coast of VictoriaIt was discovered by the Northern Party of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910–13, who named it because the rocks were densely covered with lichens. He is credited with implementing mechanised land transport on the continent and conducting extensive geological and biological research. Arctic plants are adapted to short, cold growing seasons. , In 2007, The Polar Geospatial Center was founded.  The Antarctic Peninsula was formed by uplift and metamorphism of sea bed sediments. Black, white and green lichens have been found growing in tiny cracks in dry valleys. The Federated States of Antarctica is a highly-ambitious micronation proposed on the Antarctic continent. , Meteorites from Antarctica are an important area of study of material formed early in the solar system; most are thought to come from asteroids, but some may have originated on larger planets. Geographic sources disagree as to whether it is surrounded by the Southern Ocean or the South Pacific Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean.It is divided by the Transantarctic Mountains. In 1969, a Japanese expedition discovered nine meteorites.  Ammonites were common in the seas around Antarctica, and dinosaurs were also present, though only three Antarctic dinosaur genera (Cryolophosaurus and Glacialisaurus, from the Hanson Formation, and Antarctopelta) have been described to date. Under such severe and harsh conditions there is hardly any vegetation in the Antarctic.  This included forests of podocarps and southern beech. If life is discovered in Lake Vostok, it would strengthen the argument for the possibility of life on Europa. Northern Antarctica recorded a temperature of 20.8 °C (69.4 °F) on 9 February 2020, the highest recorded temperature on the continent. Joseph Dalton Hooker was the first to notice similarities in the flora and speculated that Antarctica had served as either a source or a transitional point, and that land masses now separated might formerly have been adjacent..  The following year, however, Australia and France announced that they would not ratify the convention, rendering it dead for all intents and purposes. , About 300 million years ago Permian forests started to cover the continent, and tundra vegetation survived as late as 15 million years ago, but the climate of present-day Antarctica does not allow extensive vegetation to form. A drier northern Gondwanan flora had developed in northern South America and northern Africa. Conifers include Cupressinoxylon, which is the more common, and Podocarpoxylon. Millions of years ago the climate in Antarctica was warmer, and was able to support flora well into the Neogene. In the summer more than 4,000 scientists operate research stations; this number decreases to just over 1,000 in the winter. In particular, their thick-walled and strongly melanised cells make them resistant to UV light. It is currently comprised of seven states, a federal district, and also claims a seamount chain in the South Atlantic Ocean for a possible seasteading project. Tundra vegetation is composed of dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens. By far the coldest continent, Antarctica has winter temperatures that range from −128.6 °F (−89.2 °C), the world’s lowest recorded temperature, measured at Vostok Station (Russia) on July 21, 1983, on the high …  In 2004, a potentially active underwater volcano was found in the Antarctic Peninsula by American and Canadian researchers. There is some evidence of Antarctic marine glaciation during the Cretaceous period.. The woody plants of the Antarctic flora include conifers in the families Podocarpaceae, Araucariaceae and the subfamily Callitroideae of Cupressaceae, and angiosperms such as the families Proteaceae, Griseliniaceae, Cunoniaceae, Atherospermataceae, and Winteraceae, and genera like southern beech (Nothofagus) and fuchsia (Fuchsia). It contains 90 percent of all of the ice on Earth in an area just under 1.5 times the size of the United States. There one will find also the typical Tundra vegetation.  Bacteria have been found living in the cold and dark as deep as 800 m (0.50 mi; 2,600 ft) under the ice. The trend was at a scale unprecedented over the last 600 years; the most dominant driver of this mode of variability is likely the depletion of ozone above the continent. , There are two conifer and at least seven angiosperm morphotypes recorded in the Antarctica palaeoflora. , About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.6 km (1.0 mi) thick. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1,000 in winter to about 5,000 in the summer, giving it a population density between 70 and 350 inhabitants per million square kilometres (180 and 900 per million square miles) at these times. On top of this base are coal and various modern rocks, such as sandstones, limestones and shales laid down during the Devonian and Jurassic periods to form the Transantarctic Mountains.  Eventually Antarctica was adopted as the continental name in the 1890s—the first use of the name is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. Antarctica is the Earth's southernmost continent.It is on the South Pole.It is almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle.Around Antarctica is the Southern Ocean.It is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. Curated by professional editors, The Conversation offers informed commentary and debate on the issues affecting our world.  During the Permian period, the land became dominated by seed plants such as Glossopteris, a pteridosperm which grew in swamps. ( While the Ross Sea Marine Protection Area established in 2016 is still larger at … Integral to the story of the origin of Antarctica's name is that it was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia instead, because of the misconception that no significant landmass could exist further south. East Antarctica was at the equator, where seafloor invertebrates and trilobites flourished in the tropical seas. More of this vegetation grows in the northern and coastal regions of Antarctica, while the interior has little if any vegetation. Another well-known volcano is found on Deception Island, which is famous for a giant eruption in 1970.  In coastal areas such as the Shackleton Range and Victoria Land some faulting has occurred. Species are generally divided between those found on the subantarctic islands, those found on … It is thought to be the continent where the first humans evolved There is a major dispute about when Antarctic vegetation died out. Antarctica is defined as all land and ice shelves south of 60° S for the purposes of the Treaty System. There are about 100 species of mosses and 25 species of liverworts, but only three species of flowering plants, all of which are found in the Antarctic Peninsula: Deschampsia antarctica (Antarctic hair grass), Colobanthus quitensis (Antarctic pearlwort) and the non-native Poa annua (annual bluegrass). They searched for a more poetic replacement, suggesting various names such as Ultima and Antipodea. The project includes research in climatology, glaciology and microbiology. Investigations of Upper Cretaceous and Early Tertiary sediments of Antarctica yield a rich assemblage of well-preserved fossil dicotyledonous angiosperm wood which provides evidence for the existence, since the Late Cretaceous, of temperate forests similar in composition to those found in present-day southern South America, New Zealand and Australia.  Temperatures reach a minimum of between −80 °C (−112 °F) and −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) in the interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 5 °C (41 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) near the coast in summer. Lichens have been discovered growing on isolated mountains within 475 km (295 mls) of the South Pole.  Argentine–UK relations had previously been damaged throughout 2012 due to disputes over the sovereignty of the nearby Falkland Islands, and the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. At a number of points in its history, it was farther north, experienced a tropical or temperate climate, and was covered in forests. Summary. , The Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass as ice flows faster into the ocean than before. An expedition led by Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen from the ship Fram became the first to reach the geographic South Pole on 14 December 1911, using a route from the Bay of Whales and up the Axel Heiberg Glacier. Other dormant volcanoes may potentially be active. They have been called Scotia Sea Islands tundra ecoregion . The areas shown as Australia's and New Zealand's claims were British territory until they were handed over following the countries' independence. Black, white and green lichens have been found growing in tiny cracks in dry valleys. These divisions are based on the historic and evolutionary distribution of plants and animals. First, the size of plants and their structures make survival possible. Compared with meteorites collected in more temperate regions on Earth, the Antarctic meteorites are well-preserved. A combination of freezing temperatures, poor soil quality, lack of moisture, and lack of sunlight inhibit plant growth. At the northern end of our planet lies the Arctic, made up of about 30 percent land and 70 percent ocean. In summer, the ground is covered in the tundra vegetation that is typical of the Arctic. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with ann Antarctica (UK: / æ n ˈ t ɑːr k t ... Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. Scattered trees grow in some tundra regions. She was a daughter of Fridthjof Jacobsen, the assistant manager of the whaling station, and Klara Olette Jacobsen.  Marinus of Tyre reportedly used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century CE. East Antarctica is largely covered by the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Antarctica Facts - Fauna/Wildlife: There are not many species living on the Antarctic continent. , In the southern hemisphere summer of 1996–97 the Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland became the first human to cross Antarctica alone from coast to coast. All but a small portion of this region lies within the Eastern Hemisphere. The Antarctic flora subsequently died out in Antarctica, but is still an important component of the flora of southern Neotropic (South America) and Australasian realms, which were also former parts of Gondwana. The first documented landing on Antarctica was by the American sealer John Davis, apparently at Hughes Bay, near Cape Charles, in West Antarctica on 7 February 1821, although some historians dispute this claim. The emperor penguin is the only penguin that breeds during the winter in Antarctica; it and the Adélie penguin breed farther south than any other penguin. Among them was the founder of Grytviken, Captain Carl Anton Larsen, a prominent Norwegian whaler and explorer who, along with his family, adopted British citizenship in 1910. They are highly adapted, and can be divided into three main types; crustose lichens, forming thin crusts on the surface, foliose lichens, forming leaf-like lobes, and fructicose lichens, which grow like shrubs. A major concern within this committee is the risk to Antarctica from unintentional introduction of non-native species from outside the region. The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a treaty that came into force in 1980, requires that regulations managing all Southern Ocean fisheries consider potential effects on the entire Antarctic ecosystem. , The long-imagined (but undiscovered) south polar continent was originally called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to Australia as seen in a woodcut illustration titled "Sphere of the winds", contained in an astrological textbook published in Frankfurt in 1545. An ice sheet is a large stretch of glacier ice that covers the land all around it for more than 50,000 square kilometers (20,000 square miles). , East Antarctica is geologically varied, dating from the Precambrian era, with some rocks formed more than 3 billion years ago.  Over time, Gondwana gradually broke apart, and Antarctica as we know it today was formed around 25 million years ago, when the Drake Passage opened between it and South America. 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