10 fascinating Antarctic features
10 physical features of Antarctica that will amaze you 10 Amazing physical features of Antarctica that will inspire you to learn more about this wonderful landscape!
Some of these myths surrounding Antarctica are disguised as "common sense," and others have clear roots in misrepresentation from the media. If you're considering a trip to Antarctica, however, you need to separate fact from fiction. Here's the truth about five antarctic myths:
Many people think that "tundra" is a catch-all term for any area that with temperatures below freezing all year round. It's not - "tundra" refers specifically to any flat, large area of land with no trees and permanently frozen ground in the Northern Hemisphere. Obviously, this definition excludes Antarctica right away, since it doesn't get much more "south" than the south pole.
Antarctica is actually a desert, and it's the largest desert in the world. Although people tend to picture deserts as hot, sandy areas, dryness is actually the defining characteristic of this kind of biome. Over the course of a year, the continent sees an average of less than 2 inches of precipitation, which actually makes it dryer than the Sahara.
You can thank a certain soda company for this misconception, but polar bears and penguins never even see each other in the wild - they live on opposite sides of the planet. Polar bears only live in the Northern Hemisphere, and penguins only live in the Southern Hemisphere.
That's not to say penguins don't have any adorable predators, however - seals, sea lions and whales are all perfectly happy to eat a penguin if given the chance.
If you look at a map of the world, the odds are good Antarctica looks incredibly huge. This is an illusion caused by a quirk of map-making, where cartographers have attempted to display a round object on a flat surface. There are a couple of different ways to do this, but the most commonly used method is called the Mercator projection. This distorts the size of many continents, but perhaps none so dramatically as Antarctica, which seems to be significantly larger than any other continent on this kind of map.
This isn't an issue unique to the Mercator projection. Unless the map is of Antarctica specifically, any map that flattens out the circular nature of Antarctica is going to make it seem pretty big. In reality, Antarctica is the third-smallest continent, after Australia and Europe.
Because penguins are so cute and popular, many people think these flightless birds are the only feathered creatures that live near the south pole. In fact, a number of gulls and petrals can be found in Antarctica. Apart from penguins, however, the most iconic antarctic bird is the albatross.
Featured in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," the albatross has plenty of myths and legends of its own. According to superstition, the presence of the bird itself is good luck - killing one, on the other hand, is incredibly bad luck. This is a short summary of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," in which the narrator kills an albatross, an action that dooms the entire ship. In reality, of course, albatross are neither lucky nor unlucky - they're simply big antarctic birds.
'God save thee, ancient Mariner! From the fiends, that plague thee thus!— Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow I shot the ALBATROSS.
This is almost half of a myth, since it could be true or false depending on what is meant by "lives." On one hand, there has never been any kind of native population in Antarctica, and there are no proper cities or towns on the continent. It's true that no one lives there permanently.
However, people do live in Antarctica for temporary stretches of time. Many scientists and researchers who are studying climate change, astronomy or geography spend months to over a year at a time on the southernmost continent. These long-term stays give them the chance to collect plenty of data.
And, of course, antarctic tourists do live on the continent for very brief periods of time. On a Hurtigruten cruise, for example, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few days to up to a week there.
Changing climate in Antarctica
Changing climate in Antarctica With the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early 18th century humans began pouring CO2 into the atmosphere – first from burning coal, and later from oil and gas. Since then this period of anthropogenic climate change has led to a global warming of about 1˚C.
Elephant Island Facts
Elephant Island: Five Facts You Need to Know Elephant Island, Antarctica, is named after the elephant seals that make their home there (as well as for its elephant-like shape). The island is located 150 miles off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands. Covered in ice and towering above the surrounding Southern Ocean, it’s truly a sight to behold. Here are five notable facts.
When to visit Antarctica
Not sure when exactly to travel to Antarctica? This calendar of what you can see during different stages of its spring and summer season might help you decide. As the sun returns to Antarctica after its long winter, a wealth of wildlife can be seen throughout the spring and summer season. Each period showcases different stages of the cycle of life, including courting, nest-building, giving birth to new life, and raising their young.
Wildlife in Antarctica
Wildlife on ice Antarctica is the only continent with no significant plant life and no native land mammals, reptiles, or amphibians. Even in the extreme environment of Antarctica, life not only survives but thrives. Its icy seas, isolated icebergs and snow-driven deserts are home to wildlife that surprise and charm all who visit them.
Antarctica & Patagonia Expedition (Southbound)
October 23 2022 and October 27 2023 - 18 days
MS Fridtjof Nansen
Antarctic Circle Expedition
February 6 2023 and January 21 2024 - 18 days
MS Fridtjof Nansen