A Brief Introduction of Antarctica

Antarctica occupying a total area of about 14 million square kilometers, of which the mainland area of 12.39 million square kilometers and islands area of about 7.6 million square kilometers, 2.47 million meters long coastline. Approximately 1.582 million square kilometers of the Antarctica has a snow cover. Antarctica occupies 10% of the total land area of the earth, and its size is equivalent to one and a half of China.

The map of Antarctica

Because of a high altitude, thin air, coupled with the snow and ice on the surface of the solar reflection, has been the result that the Antarctica becoming the coldest areas in the world, with an average temperature 20 degrees lowers than the Arctic’s temperature.

There is a common phenomenon with 12 or more tropical storms (typhoon) in the Antarctica and it is by far the most frequent turmoil, with wind speed above 100km per hour. The France “Dierweier” observation team has detected the wind speed with 100m per second, a wind speed of 12 typhoons three times, and its destructive power is equivalent to 10 times of 12 typhoons. Therefore, the Antarctic is renowned for a characteristic of “very windy.”

Luoerde Amundsen (Roald Amundsen) is the first explorer who reached Antarctica on December 14, 1911. A month later, Robert Scott (Robert Falcon Scott) arrived at the Antarctica. However, Scott and his four companions were dying of hunger due to extremely cold weather in the Antarctica.

Exploring the Beauty of Antarctica

Migration process is usually a tiring and hard journey for the penguins to venture. When they hardly bear on hardships while walking over the time, they will use their fat belly to crawl around the ice or snow.

These emperor penguins have gigantic heads. They are the giant penguins in the world. In general, their height is 90cm, but they can achieve as high as 120cm in height. Their maximum weight is 34kg. These penguins are monogamy but not polygamy, and thus the family structure of them is one wife and one husband. After laying the eggs, mother penguin will hand over the eggs to father penguin. Then the mother penguin goes out in search for foods, while the father penguin incubates the eggs. Every year in March, these penguins will leave the ocean and migrate to different places that they find free from natural enemies to produce offspring. Almost all the penguins from these species will have a mass migration to leave the sea every year. Their two feet walk in a slow pace as tough a baby starts walking to explore their challenging and attractive journeys.

These penguins have small black feathers from the side of the ear pass through their chins and to the other side of the ear. Sometimes, people call them “police officer’s penguin.” Their height can extend from 43 to 53cm and weighing 4kg. These penguins are very aggressive, as they prefer to fight. Their reproductive season is in every winter. Mother penguin produces two eggs each time, while the father penguin incubates the eggs. Both father and mother penguins will take turn to take care of their baby penguin.

Young penguins have strict custody and well care from both of their parents, nevertheless, young penguins have to bear on the harsh environmental condition in the Antarctic coupling with the threat from the predators. Therefore, the survival rate for them is relatively low with their low birth rate of 20% to 30%.

Penguins are renowned for loving their nests the most. Sometimes, they steal the neighbor’s eggs by conquering other penguins’ nests. They monopolize the custody by taking care of other baby penguins that they succeed to steal. Thus, penguins refuse to leave their children even a second as they fear of losing their children. When mother penguin is out in search for foods, father penguin will take strict supervision to their children. Similarly, when father penguin is out for “business affairs,” mother penguin will take over the responsibility to look after their children.

Young penguins stand at the feet of their parents, while adult penguins will use their abdominal features to let their children stay warm. On the whitish and ice-covered land, penguins nest and feed their children. Both male and female penguins will take turn to hatch the eggs. The hatching process takes approximately one to two months.

In order to survive their lives, penguins have to adapt themselves to an extreme weather in the Antarctic. Therefore, they always walk in a crowd close to other penguins with their back facing out. Their ancestors have taught them how to walk against the cold and strong winds with the speed of 160km per hour. The penguins that walk out of the group will always rotate to the middle of the group to get warmth. The empty place left by them will be filling by the penguins in the middle group. They will always take turn to get warmth. The spirit of unity ensures them to store the energy in their bodies to continue to survive at the harsh environmental condition in the Antarctic island.

Antarctic seabirds breed in the summer. They breed their eggs mostly in the Antarctic Peninsula and Sub Antarctic Islands, with one to two eggs each time. Male and female birds will take turn to hatch the eggs. They share their responsibility to take care of their young children. After three months, they teach their children how to swim and how to search for foods. The main characteristics of the Antarctic seabirds are their ability to fly, to land on the land, iceberg, on top of the water and icecaps. They feed on shrimps, fish and squids.

Antarctic swallow or commonly known as the Antarctic pigeon as its appearance resembles the pigeon. Antarctic swallow is the most beautiful seabird among the bird species in the Antarctic Island. They inhibit in the Antarctic region throughout the year and thus they are “indigenous tribes” as compared to other birds that tend to migrate to the north of the Polar Regions when the season changes.

Skua is a natural enemy for penguins. Skua has about 0.7m in length. Its body has a covering of black, blue, green, shining and bright feathers. Besides that, Skua has a long hooked beak and a pair of strong wings.

Skua, a type of bird mostly flies over the Antarctic Island and seldom stays close to the water. However, sometimes when searching for foods, Skuas will fly near offshore to capture its prey. Skuas have a marvelous flying ability to adapt itself to the extreme climate conditions in the Antarctic Island.

Antarctic fur sea lion, a type of seal, which is also called sea wolf. Its head and facial appearance resembles a dog or a wolf, and its long beard looks as if a lion. The fur sea lion has about 2m in length and weighing 150 to 200kg. They do not like to live in groups, and only 3 to 5 of Antarctic fur sea lions will stay together.

Chinese Antarctic expedition team has named this region as the Great Wall Bay. Behind the Great Wall Bay is an island of penguin and the ice on this island never melt off throughout the year.

The winds in Antarctica are strong with a maximum wind speed accelerates to 100m per second. Years and years, the strong winds erode, grind and construct the stones by shaping them into a diverse and unique shape of rocks and stones.

Lichen is one of the oldest plants on Earth. It belongs to a kind of primitive type of lower plants, and they are the most widely distributed species found on the island of Antarctica. Its growing rate is relatively low, with the growth of 1mm every 100 years.

Penguins can be seen everywhere near the station in the Antarctic. Three penguins were lining up in a sequence to walk towards the station, while the other three rooted on the ground by paying great interest to the helicopter.

The station was located in Fildes Peninsula on the island of King George, which is the largest island in South Shetland Island. Approximately 85% of the island has a snow cover. Its location is in the low latitude areas of Antarctica, surrounded by sea with a characteristic of marine climate, and thus this area is also known as “tropical” in the Antarctica. Its annual average temperature is -2.8°C.

Antarctica has its surface covered with tremendous amount of iceberg. Most of the iceberg forms in spring and winter. The warm weather at these periods causes the glacier or ice edge to split at a tremendous speed. Greenland glaciers alone have 10,000 pieces of iceberg forming up each year.

At the high latitude of Antarctic, there will be a bright light phenomenon flashing through the long dark night. Very often, this colorful and endless changes in the Earth’s Aurora is caused by a huge discharge phenomenon occurred in the atmosphere, approximately 100km above the ground.

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