Whether you are considering taking a cruise ship from Ushaia to cross the Drake Passage to Antarctica or doing a Antarctica school project, learning about it is always very interesting. It is without a doubt one of the most unique places to go on the earth. Read on to find out some facts you probably didn’t know about Antarctica.
Antarctica is a desert
Believe it or not Antarctica is actually the largest desert in the world. How can that be though? In terms of typical hot deserts that we all think of like the Sahara or Atacama desert, these are dry because they receive such little rainfall. The same is true for Antarctica and it is extremely dry despite the snow and ice present. There are parts of Antarctica that have not experienced any rain or snow in 2 million years, talk about a drought!
The most extreme
Antarctica is actually the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on earth. This makes it extremely difficult to live and as a result only the hardiest of animals can actually survive here, like penguins, seals and whales.
It is extremely cold
As we mentioned above it is the coldest continent on earth, but how cold is that actually? There is a part of Antarctica that experiences temperatures lower than negative 90 degrees Celsius and is the coldest place on earth. Think about a typical winter day anywhere on earth and it most likely going to range between minus 5 degrees Celsius and 10 degrees Celsius. This is an extreme differential in temperature!
It isn’t always as cold as you may think
The highest recorded temperature in Antarctica was about 14.5 degrees Celsius, this is probably a lot warmer than you might have expected and this occurred during the summer time. In summer the weather can actually be rather pleasant and this is something that many tourists notice when they visit.
There is a lot of water
90 percent of the world’s fresh water is actually in Antarctica and this is due to all the ice and snow that it has. For this reason climate change experts worry about the impact that all this melting ice will have on countries and cities and how they exist today.
It is relatively new
Strangely enough not much is really talked about when it comes to the first discovery of Antarctica, but it was actually seen for the first time in 1820 by a Russian expedition.
It is huge
Most people have no idea how big the continent is, but to put it into perspective Antarctica is about 1.3 times the size of Europe. This is probably a lot bigger than you were expecting.
This is probably something you haven’t considered before, but Antarctica is the only continent on earth that has absolutely no reptiles.