Aerial view of the Ellsworth Mountains from the window of a Twin Otter. Picture: Christopher Michel
Aerial view of the Ellsworth Mountains from the window of a Twin Otter. Picture: Christopher Michel

10 facts about Antarctica you should know

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Oct 2, 2019

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Kirstie Jones-Williams shares 10 facts about Antarctica 

Antarctica has only one citizen: Antarctica is the only place in the world that has no native human population, although one baby was born there 41 years ago. Emilio Marcos Palma became the continent’s first and only citizen. 

Bring Your Own Eye Mask: During the Antarctic summer – from November to January – there are 24 hours of daylight.
It's a summer hotspot: There are more people, primarily researchers, living on the continent in the summer than in Provincetown in Massachusetts year-round. Around 4 000 people occupy it in the prime summer research season and around 1 000 in the winter. 

There’s something known as the “Ghost” Mountains: Antarctica has mountains that rise to 9 000 feet and completely buried under three miles of ice. They’re called the Gamburtsev Mountains.
There are two South Poles: Antarctica has the ceremonial South Pole and the Geographic South Pole. The Geographic South Pole marker is changed every January 1 by the US Geological Society.
There are no time zones: Because of the South Pole, Antarctica sits on every line of longitude, theoretically, making it located in all time zones. So many stations use the time of the country they are owned by or the time zone of their supply base, resulting in nearby research stations having different time zones while other areas have no time zone.

It is the coldest place on Earth: Winter atop the East Antarctic Plateau is as cold as it gets on Earth. Scientists have measured -92ºC.
It’s technically a desert: Antarctica sees very little snow or rain, but because it is so cold, the small amount of precipitation that does fall does not melt, making it the driest continent.

It has more penguins than people: Around 12 million penguins call the continent home, one million more than the population of Paris.

Mostly ice, mostly water: Antarctica has about 90% of the world's ice thereby about 70% of the world's freshwater. If all of this ice melted, sea levels globally would rise about 61m, and places like Vancouver, Seattle and San Diego would almost be entirely underwater.

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