The Antarctic Series #2: Antarctic Trivia

This post is really just some random trivia about Antarctic that I found interesting:

Just to be clear, Antarctic is the one in the south. Arctic is the one in the north. Antarctic has penguins and Arctic has polar bears. Most of the ice in the Arctic is sea ice, meaning they are floating and hence their mass has already been contributing to the sea level. However, most of the ice in the Antarctic is above a landmass. This means that if the Antarctic ice melts and flows down to the sea, it will significantly add to the rising sea level.

In an area called Vostok, in the Antarctic, researchers derived climate data from what is called “ice core”. It is basically a long piece of drilled ice (up to over 3 km long!) that gives indication on how the climate on earth evolved. The data goes back about 450,000 years – that’s a period where our species was still evolving into homo sapiens!

Activities in the Antarctic are governed by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and associated agreements, referred to collectively as the Antarctic Treaty System that established Antarctica as a zone of peace and science (taken from the Guidance for Visitors).

Antarctica is a continent, not a country. There are seven continents in the world: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America.

There is no time zone in Antarctica. Most people just use their home timezones – which makes me wonder in an international expedition such as this one, hope we’ll have a consensus on whose time we’ll use.

The Antarctic ice sheet covers about 98% of the Antarctic continent and is the largest single mass of ice on this planet, covering an area of almost 14 million square km – whereas my native Indonesia, which is quite big, only covers an area of roughly 2 million square km.

March 3, 2011
Buenos Aires

Michael C. Putrawenas

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