For comparison, this is 10.7 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice at one atmosphere of partial pressure, but since CO2 only makes up 0.039% of air, temperatures of less than −140 °C (−220 °F) would be needed to produce dry ice snow in Antarctica. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades.  Some of these species are cryptoendoliths as a result of evolution under extreme conditions, and have significantly contributed to shaping the impressive rock formations of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and surrounding mountain ridges.  On 22 December 2012, the UK ambassador to Argentina, John Freeman, was summoned to the Argentine government as protest against the claim. Satellite images from 25 years ago seemingly show it. The coastline measures 17,968 km (11,165 mi) and is mostly characterised by ice formations, as the following table shows: Antarctica is divided in two by the Transantarctic Mountains close to the neck between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. The Antarctic Desert is not found in any country. 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. The habitats near the Antarctic coast, meanwhile, are comparatively much more hospitable, and thrive with marine and semi-aquatic animals like large colonies of penguins.  As of 2009, eleven children were born in Antarctica (south of the 60th parallel south): eight at the Argentine Esperanza Base and three at the Chilean Frei Montalva Station.  Antarctica's status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. The Polar Geospatial Center uses geospatial and remote sensing technology to provide mapping services to American federally funded research teams.  The impacts of the depleted ozone layer on climate changes occurring in Antarctica are not well understood. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by the 12 countries who then had a presence in Antarctica. Antarctic ice serves as both the shield and the detection medium for the largest neutrino telescope in the world, built 2 km (1.2 mi) below Amundsen–Scott station. Exploitation of all mineral resources is banned until 2048 by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Richard E. Byrd led several voyages to the Antarctic by plane in the 1930s and 1940s. Antarctic krill, which congregate in large schools, is the keystone species of the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean, and is an important food organism for whales, seals, leopard seals, fur seals, squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and many other birds. 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).  The first recorded and confirmed landing was at Cape Adair in 1895 (by the Norwegian-Swedish whaling ship Antarctic). Third, the Earth is at aphelion in July (i.e., the Earth is farthest from the Sun in the Antarctic winter), and the Earth is at perihelion in January (i.e., the Earth is closest to the Sun in the Antarctic summer). New types of meteorites and rare meteorites have been found. It can be located below the country of Australia in the Antarctic region of the southern hemisphere.  The snow petrel is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica. , This large collection of meteorites allows a better understanding of the abundance of meteorite types in the solar system and how meteorites relate to asteroids and comets. In West Antarctica, coniferous forests dominated through the entire Cretaceous period (146–66 Ma), though southern beech became more prominent towards the end of this period.  The same group's 2018 systematic review study estimated that ice loss across the entire continent was 43 gigatonnes per year on average during the period from 1992 to 2002 but has accelerated to an average of 220 gigatonnes per year during the five years from 2012 to 2017. , A satellite record revealed that the overall increase in Antarctic sea ice extents reversed in 2014, with rapid rates of decrease in 2014–2017 reducing the Antarctic sea ice extents to their lowest values in the 40-y record. , East Antarctica is a cold region with a ground base above sea level and occupies most of the continent. 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. , 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. , 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. The settlements included Grytviken, Leith Harbour, King Edward Point, Stromness, Husvik, Prince Olav Harbour, Ocean Harbour and Godthul. New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959, although in 2015 Norway formally defined Queen Maud Land as including the unclaimed area between it and the South Pole. , Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for three reasons. In January 1840, terra firma at Antarctica was discovered for the first time, almost simultaenously, by the United States Exploring Expedition, under Lieut. Antarctica is considered to be a desert as it only gets a small amount of rain per year. He sailed along a huge wall of ice that was later named the Ross Ice Shelf. In 1895, the first confirmed landing was conducted by a team of Norwegians. Interestingly enough, the largest exclusively terrestrial land animal of Antarctica is the Flightless midge, which is in fact a 12-millimeter-long insect. Each year, scientists from 28 different nations conduct experiments not reproducible in any other place in the world. On 18 December 2012, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office named a previously unnamed area Queen Elizabeth Land in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. , Some scientific studies suggest that ozone depletion may have a dominant role in governing climatic change in Antarctica (and a wider area of the Southern Hemisphere). Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf. Though fresh water is abundant in the Antarctica desert, there is no moisture in the air which is one of the main characteristics of deserts. 21 October 2020 . Only scientific investigations and explorations and tourism are to be allowed, and even these only as long as they are not causing any harm to the pristine environments of Antarctica. They searched for a more poetic replacement, suggesting various names such as Ultima and Antipodea. Antarctica is defined as all land and ice shelves south of 60° S for the purposes of the Treaty System. Since then, a large number of expeditions have been made into this continent by a large number of countries, and multidisciplinary studies of Antarctica have been extensively conducted.  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. 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. It sits in what is known as the Antarctic Convergence, which is where the cold, north-bound Antarctic waters meet the warmer ocean waters. , Since the 1970s an important focus of study has been the ozone layer in the atmosphere above Antarctica.  The only documented military land manoeuvre has been the small Operation NINETY by the Argentine military in 1965.. In 1998, a compromise agreement was reached to place an indefinite ban on mining, to be reviewed in 2048, further limiting economic development and exploitation. Von Bellingshausen of the Russian navy is one of the men credited with the first discovery of the continent, doing so on January 27th, 1820.  The following year, however, Australia and France announced that they would not ratify the convention, rendering it dead for all intents and purposes. The life in this pristine cold desert habitat appears to be in danger from the exploitative activities of humankind. Antarctica is a continent unto itself and is not a part of any country. , In September 2006 NASA satellite data revealed that the Antarctic ozone hole was larger than at any other time on record, at 2,750,000 km2 (1,060,000 sq mi). Plant growth is mostly limited to lichens, bryophytes, fungi, algae, and a few flowering plants, such as the Antarctic hair grass and Antarctic pearl-wort. Travel is largely by small or medium ship, focusing on specific scenic locations with accessible concentrations of iconic wildlife. This cooling has the effect of intensifying the westerly winds which flow around the continent (the polar vortex) and thus prevents outflow of the cold air near the South Pole. The Sahara, the third largest desert in the world, covers 3.5 million square miles. As a result, the diversity of plant life is very low and limited in distribution. 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. Among the avians, the Snow petrel is a bird which is found in the Antarctic desert as far south as near to the South Pole. Tourism also introduces increased pollution risks, and creates disturbances in the pristine Antarctic habitats. , 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. These specimens, particularly ALH84001 discovered by ANSMET, are at the centre of the controversy about possible evidence of microbial life on Mars. Making water in the Antarctic desert Home News and media 2020 Making water in the Antarctic desert. Douglas Mawson, who assumed the leadership of the Magnetic Pole party on their perilous return, went on to lead several expeditions until retiring in 1931. A sun dog, a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon, is a bright "spot" beside the true sun.  The net contribution to sea level from the Antarctic Peninsula is more likely to be a direct result of the much greater atmospheric warming there. , A study published in Nature Geoscience in 2013 (online in December 2012) identified central West Antarctica as one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth. During the Permian period, the land became dominated by seed plants such as Glossopteris, a pteridosperm which grew in swamps.  Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of 200 mm (7.9 in) along the coast and far less inland; there has been no rain there for almost 2 million years, 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. In 1969, a Japanese expedition discovered nine meteorites. , Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c. 350 BC. These are floating extensions of outflowing glaciers from the continental ice mass. The claims of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France and Norway are all recognised by each other. During the Nimrod Expedition led by Ernest Shackleton in 1907, parties led by Edgeworth David became the first to climb Mount Erebus and to reach the South Magnetic Pole. Australia currently claims the largest area. Astrophysicists at Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station study the celestial dome and cosmic microwave background radiation. , Several countries claim sovereignty in certain regions.  Invertebrate life includes microscopic mites like the Alaskozetes antarcticus, lice, nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, krill and springtails.  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. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent, leaving the centre cold and dry. Different country calling codes and currencies are used for different settlements, depending on the administrating country. Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. , In 2006, a team of researchers from Ohio State University used gravity measurements by NASA's GRACE satellites to discover the 500-kilometre-wide (300 mi) Wilkes Land crater, which probably formed about 250 million years ago. Approximately 98% of Antarctica is covered with ice that in on average is 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) thick. Though heavy snowfall is not uncommon along the coastal portions of Antarctica, the dry interior hardly receives any precipitation at all.  The southern rockhopper penguin has distinctive feathers around the eyes, giving the appearance of elaborate eyelashes. The largest known area uninhabited by humans, the "white desert" of the Antarctic receives about one thousand to five thousand people each year. However, there are seven countries that claim parts of the continent, and there are many other countries that send groups of scientists and workers each year.
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