The Lost Island
Antarctica meltdown contains 90 percent of all of the ice on Earth

Antarctica is the southernmost continent, and site of the South Pole is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. Most cruises to the continent visit the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches toward South America. It’s known for the Lemaire Channel and Paradise Harbor, striking, iceberg-flanked passageways, and Port Lockroy, a former British research station turned museum. The peninsula’s isolated terrain also shelters rich wildlife, including many penguins.

The coldest, windiest and driest continent, Antarctica contains 90 percent of all of the ice on Earth in an area just under one and a half times the size of the United States. But the southernmost continent is more than one big block of ice.  Antarctica covers more than 5.4 million square miles, making it the fifth-largest continent in the world. It is situated almost entirely within the Arctic Circle, which means that temperatures are consistently below zero the majority of the year. 

The West Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming areas on Earth, with only some areas of the Arctic Circle experiencing faster-rising temperatures. However, since Antarctica is a big place, climate change is not having a uniform impact, with some areas experiencing increases in sea ice extent.

Antarctica turning green plant life on both poles is growing rapidly as the planet warms up and even though the plant life only exists on a tiny fraction of Antarctica, about 0.5 percent, researchers found increases significantly for life as the region warms.

Antarctica is the largest desert in the world by area (14,000,000 km²)

Area: 14 million km²

Population density: 0.00009/km2 (0.0005/sq mi)

Population: 1,206

Largest cities: Research stations


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