The ecosystem of Antarctica has adapted to the harsh climatic conditions. These harsh conditions limit the complexity of the food web . On land, there are no trees or shrubs, and very few flowering plants. Mites and midges are at the bottom of the food chain (excluding the Antarctic sub-islands).
Why is Antarctica an extreme environment?
Antarctica is the windiest continent on earth. Winds flow down the coastal slopes under the influence of gravity. Speeds of these katabatic winds have been recorded up to 204 miles per hour (327 kilometers per hour).
Where is Antarctica and why is it special?
region at Earth’s extreme south, encompassed by the Antarctic Circle. Earth’s fifth-largest continental landmass. cold, dense water surrounding Antarctica. uneven line of latitude where cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the warmer waters of the world’s oceans.
Why is the biodiversity of Antarctica so special?
The islands offshore of the continent (sub-Antarctic) have more productive and biodiverse ecosystems because of the warmer temperatures, more humid atmosphere and greater moisture availability.
What kind of environment is Antarctica?
Antarctica is a desert. It does not rain or snow a lot there. When it snows, the snow does not melt and builds up over many years to make large, thick sheets of ice, called ice sheets. Antarctica is made up of lots of ice in the form of glaciers, ice shelves and icebergs.
What is Antarctica climate?
Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth. The average temperature in the interior throughout the year is about -57°C, with the minimum temperature being -90°C during the winter season. Although the coast is warmer and temperatures can reach a maximum of between -2°C and 8°C during the summer.
Why is Antarctica a continent?
Antarctica is a continent because it is made up of a single landmass that lies beneath the ice whereas the arctic is mostly ocean with sea ice on top. Parts of other continents do form part of the arctic as they protrude north of the arctic circle such as North America, Europe, and Asia.
What Antarctica means?
/ æntˈɑrk tɪ kə, -ˈɑr tɪ- / PHONETIC RESPELLING. noun. the continent surrounding the South Pole: almost entirely covered by an ice sheet.
Why Antarctica is known as the white continent?
Antarctica is a continent which remains covered with snow and thick ice sheets all year round. Hence it is known as the ‘White Continent’.
What type of ecosystem and biodiversity does Antarctica have?
Terrestrial biodiversity in the Antarctic is predominantly restricted to areas that are permanently ice-free—currently estimated at somewhere between 0.2 and 0.5% of the Antarctic continent (21,745 km27 to 45,886 km28).
Does Antarctica have high or low biodiversity?
The Antarctic continent is isolated from the rest of the world by the Southern Ocean and successful natural colonization events are rare. As a result, terrestrial biodiversity is low and comprised of simple plants (e.g. mosses, lichens, liverworts) and animals (e.g. flies, mites and springtails).
Where is the Antarctic marine ecosystem?
Sea stars are common sights on the bottom of Antarctic seas, clustering under holes and cracks in the ice where seals congregate.
What are the special features of the continent Antarctica?
- Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest and windiest continent on Earth.
- Antarctica covers 14.2 million km² (5.5 million square miles)
- The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest ice store on earth. Area: 5.4 million square mile (14 million kilometres) Mass: 7.2 million cubic miles (30 million cubic metres)
How is climate change affecting Antarctica?
The warming of the Antarctic Peninsula is causing changes to the physical and living environment of Antarctica. The distribution of penguin colonies has changed as the sea ice conditions alter. Melting of perennial snow and ice covers has resulted in increased colonisation by plants.
What are 5 facts about Antarctica?
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- Antarctica holds most of the world’s fresh water. …
- Antarctica is a desert. …
- Antarctica used to be as warm as Melbourne. …
- The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming areas on Earth. …
- There is no Antarctic time zone. …
- Every way is north! …
- Antarctica has active volcanoes.