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    Section 3 Section 3 Presentation Transcript

    • Section 3 Antarctica
    • The Land
        • Ice covers 98% of Antarctica’s 5.4 million square miles
        • 90% of world’s ice; sheets are more than 1 mile thick
        • Ice sheets flow slowly off the continent & form an ice shelf when they reach the coast; icebergs often break away and drift into the ocean
          • Ross Ice Shelf is the size of France
          • One recent iceberg the size of Luxembourg
        • Antarctic Peninsula
          • Temps often warmer than other parts of the continent
    • Climate & Resources
      • Mostly freezing ice-cap climate
        • Temp below -120 degrees F w/ little precipitation
      • Polar desert: high latitude region that receives little precipitation
        • Less precipitation than Sahara Desert
      • Planet’s coldest, driest, highest, & windiest continent
      • remains totally dark in winter
      • In summer the sun never sets
      • Temps can drop as low as -120 degrees F
      • Tundra plant life survives in ice free areas
      • A few insects are the land’s only land animals
      • Penguins, seals, & whales live in the icy waters
    • Resources
      • Iron ore, gold, copper, & coal
      • Debate over whether resources should be mined
        • Mining would harm continent’s environment
        • Worthwhile for businesses
    • Early Explorers
      • 177 James Cook sighted icebergs around Antarctica
      • 1800s explorers investigated Antarctica
        • Motive was to discover South Pole
        • Norwegian explorers were 1 st human expedition to reach South Pole in 1911
      • Parts of Antarctica have been claimed by countries
        • U.S., Australia, & China
      • Antarctic Treaty of 1959
        • agreement reached to preserve Antarctica for science & peace
        • Prevented claims to the continent & banned military activity & made whole continent a research area
    • Antarctica Today
      • Only continent without permanent human population
      • Researchers only people who live in Antarctica
        • Live in bases or stations
      • Research covers wide range of topics
        • Plant and animal life of Antarctica, weather conditions, Earth’s ozone layer
    • Air Pollution
      • Studies show that carbon dioxide levels in the air have risen over time
        • Discovered by studying gases trapped in old Antarctic ice & compared them to gases in the Earth’s atmosphere today
        • Some believe this is causing global warming
      • Some scientists are looking for evidence that air pollution is damaging Earth’s ozone layer
    • Environmental Threats
      • Tourists & researchers have left behind trash & oil spills have occurred
      • Oil spills have damaged surrounding seas
      • In 1991 an international agreement was reached forbidding most activities in Antarctica that do not have a scientific purpose
        • Bans mining & drilling & limits tourism