They affect us through their connections with the ocean and sea leveland environmental change is having rapid consequences in Antarctica. Much of the Antarctic ice sheet surface lies above m above sea level. This massive thickness of ice drowns whole mountain ranges, and numerous volcanoes exist underneath the icey exterior. The Antarctic Continent The Antarctic continent comprises three ice sheets:
References Description A vast, icy continent at the very south of the planet, the Antarctic is a land of extremes. Larger than Europe and nearly twice the size of Australia 1 2it is almost entirely buried beneath an ice sheet which covers around 99 percent of the land surface 2 3 4.
Its ice sheet is over 4 kilometres thick in places 1 4and hides spectacular mountain ranges, as well as valleys and even lakes. Perhaps surprisingly, the Antarctic is also the driest continent on Earth.
Most precipitation falls at the coast, while the interior of the continent is classified as a polar desert, receiving as little as 50 millimetres of precipitation a year.
Most of this falls as snow, which builds up over time and is gradually compressed into ice. In places, the Antarctic ice sheet is so heavy that the underlying land has been pushed below sea level 3 5 6.
In summer, the sea ice is mainly confined to areas such as the Weddell Sea and Ross Sea 1. The Antarctic continent is surrounded by the Southern Ocean, an extension of the southernmost parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
A relatively deep ocean, it is characterised by strong winds and a current that flows from east to west around Antarctica, known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current 2 9. The interactions between these winds and currents, together with the presence and melting of sea ice, have significant effects on global climate and ocean circulation patterns 1 3 5 6 7 9.
Terrestrial life in the cold, inhospitable environment of the Antarctic is mainly confined to the few areas of exposed, ice-free rock, mostly around the coast and in the slightly more temperate Antarctic Peninsula.
Vegetation cover is largely limited to mosses, lichens and algaewhile animal life consists of a few small insects and other invertebratestogether with breeding colonies of seals and penguins 1 2 3 5 8.
In contrast, the oceans around the Antarctic support a rich marine ecosystem. Its waters are rich in nutrients and oxygen, producing abundant plankton which in turn supports a variety of marine species, from tiny krill to a range of fish, seals, whales and seabirds 2 6 8 9.
Many Antarctic species show unique adaptations to their harsh environment 2 3 6. Surrounding Antarctica are a number of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands, which range in size from small clusters of rocks to larger islands, and which support a rich variety of wildlife.
Some of these islands are almost completely covered in ice 1 3while others, such as Macquarie Island, are ice-free and have no permanent covering of snow 1. Top Range Located at the southernmost part of the Earth, Antarctica is a large continent that covers an area of almost 14 million square kilometres 1 3 6 8 9.
Biodiversity Plants The Antarctic mainland is relatively poor in plant life, and the species that occur there have to survive extreme conditions on the very few ice-free pieces of land. There are no trees or shrubs in the Antarctic, and only two flowering plant species, the Antarctic hair grass Deschampsia antarctica and the Antarctic pearlwort Colobanthus quitensiswhich grow on the Antarctic Peninsula and some Antarctic islands 1 3.
Most of the terrestrial plant life of the Antarctic consists of lower plant groups, such as mosses, liverworts and lichens. Lichens and some mosses can be found growing even on windswept, dry rock surfaces, and are well adapted to survive the harsh climate 1 2 3.
A number of fungi species are also found in the Antarctic 1 3. Algae can even be found growing on ice and snow 1 2often colouring it red, green or orange 1. The milder, wetter sub-Antarctic islands are more suitable for plant growth, and most have a slightly more diverse range of flowering plants and ferns 3 5 13 14 These include tussock grass, a tall, robust plant which often forms the tallest vegetation cover 3 Human activities on these islands have also led to many non-native plant species being introduced 3 Mammals There are no naturally occurring land mammals in the Antarctic, but the surrounding oceans are home to a rich diversity of marine mammals.
Of the six Antarctic seal species, the leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyxRoss seal Ommatophoca rossiiWeddell seal Leptonychotes weddellii and crabeater seal Lobodon carcinophaga are ice habitat specialists, breeding on the sea ice in spring 1 3.
The Weddell seal breeds further south than any other mammal 4. Other species, including the Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella and southern elephant seal Mirounga leoninaare found further north 1 3. All Antarctic seal species are well adapted to the cold, with thick layers of blubber and insulating fur 3 6.
The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is also home to many species of cetaceanincluding the Antarctic minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensissperm whale Physeter macrocephalusfin whale Balaenoptera physalussouthern right whale Eubalaena australishumpback whale Megaptera novaeangliaeorca Orcinus orcaand the largest animal in the world, the blue whale Balaenoptera musculus 1 4 6."The Antarctic is the vast source of cold on our planet, just as the sun is the source of our heat, and it exerts tremendous control on our climate," [Jacques] Cousteau told the camera.
"The cold ocean. Wintertime Antarctic sea ice is increasing at a small rate and with substantial year-to-year variation. Monthly sea ice data show trends of increasing sea ice extent that are slightly above the mean year-to-year variability over the satellite record ( to present). Sep 07, · Scientists have found large increases in snow accumulation in a vast region of eastern Antarctica, a trend that, if it continues or becomes more widespread, could lessen the ice sheet’s.
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Explore Antarctica holidays and discover the best time and places to visit. | No place on Earth compares to this vast white wilderness of elemental forces: snow, ice, water, rock. Antarctica is simply stunning.
Welcome to metin2sell.com Antarctic glaciers are beautiful and awe-inspiring. They affect us through their connections with the ocean and sea level, and environmental change is having rapid consequences in Antarctica.. Antarctica is the world’s largest ice sheet, covering ~14,, km metin2sell.com of the Antarctic ice sheet surface lies above m above sea level.