Antarctica

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Antarctica
Where is Antarctica? Antarctica is the region lying south of the Antarctic Circle, and surrounds the South Pole. There is a very small piece of land which points towards South America. Antarctica is very far from the Equator that’s why it is so cold. Antarctica contains 90% of the worlds ice, and it contains 10% of the worlds surface. If all of the ice in Antarctica melted, the sea level would rise 60 metres. In summer it is almost one-and-a-half times the size of the USA. Antarctica is known for its high, frigid desert, where winter temperatures regularly dip as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius. But the seemingly barren continent's coastline is actually rich with marine life, including penguins, seabirds, seals and whales. Even the darkest depths of the Weddell Sea off western Antarctica are a treasure trove of life: A survey of the Weddell Sea, published in the journal Nature in 2007, found more than 700 new species, including sea spiders, carnivorous sponges and octopi. The twin threats of global warming and overfishing threaten Antarctica's biodiversity. A 2008 report commissioned by WWF warned that if global temperatures rise 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial averages, sea ice in the Southern Ocean could shrink by 10 to 15 percent. If that happens, ice-dependant species will lose habitat and food sources. Already, experts warn that overfishing of krill, the shrimp-like basis of the Antarctic food chain, could threaten the entire ecosystem. Managing krill fisheries is crucial, executive secretary of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources Denzil Miller told the New York Times in 2005. "We've got to get this one right," he said, "because if we don't there's a whole lot of dominoes that follow afterwards that just looks too horrendous to contemplate."
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