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Section 3

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Section 3

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

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