As you know I am staying on the continent of Antarctica, where I reside at the princess Elisabeth station. It is a truly amazing place and it holds a legacy for our children and grandchildren. Below you can find some things I found out during my adventure so far.
Did you know… that 90% of the world’s ice is held on the continent of Antarctica? In addition, about 70% of the world’s fresh water is held in this ice mass. If Antarctica would be commercialised, we risk losing our most precious resource: water.
Did you know… that there are no permanent residents on Antarctica? It is the one place in the world that is owned by no one and is owned by everyone (very much like space). During the summer season (so now actually), the population based in research stations is about 4,000. This number even declines to 1,000 in the winter months, when the living conditions get even harsher (no daylight, strong winds, no evac, no fresh food).
Did you know… that Antarctica has a really fragile ecosystem? When the whales were over-fished, this had a cascading effect. In essence, whale excrements feeds the plankton, much like fertilizer helps plants. The krill eat the plankton, the penguins eat the krill, the seals eat the penguins, the whales eat the seals and the circle of life is complete. Take one thing, such as whales, out of the equation and the circle of life goes out of balance.
Did you know… that Antarctica is considered to be the coldest place on Earth? The average temperature in Antarctica in the winter is -34.4 °C. The temperature in the center of Antarctica is much lower than the temperature on the coasts. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica was -93.2 °C. The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica was +15 °C. Antarctica has just two seasons: summer and winter. Antarctica has six months of daylight in its summer and six months of darkness in its winter. This is caused by the tilt of Earth’s axis in relation to the sun. The direction of the tilt never changes. But as the Earth orbits the sun, different parts of the planet are exposed to direct sunlight. During summer, Antarctica is on the side of Earth tilted toward the sun and is in constant sunlight. In the winter, Antarctica is on the side of Earth tilted away from the sun, causing the continent to be dark. You can learn more by watching movie 1, movie 2 and movie 3.
Did you know… that Antarctica is strangely enough is considered to be a desert? Bare with me; Antarctica receives very little rain or snowfall. The small amount of snow that does fall does not melt but builds up over hundreds and thousands of years to form large, thick ice sheets. Antarctica’s terrain itseld is made up of glaciers, ice shelves and icebergs. It has no trees or bushes as the only plants that can survive the extreme cold are lichens, mosses and algae. Strange, right?