While a few of these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims, the validity of these claims is not recognised universally.. , In September 2018, researchers at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency released a high resolution terrain map (detail down to the size of a car, and less in some areas) of Antarctica, named the "Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica" (REMA).. A total of 37,506 tourists visited during the 2006–07 Austral summer with nearly all of them coming from commercial ships; 38,478 were recorded in 2015–16. As a result, the continental mass of the East Antarctic ice sheet is held at lower temperatures, and the peripheral areas of Antarctica, especially the Antarctic Peninsula, are subject to higher temperatures, which promote accelerated melting. More surprising are small forms of life such as sea cucumbers and free-swimming snails found in both polar oceans. In fact, it appears that many countries feel entitled to segments of its territory today. Models of the changes suggest that declining CO2 levels became more important.  The amount of surface warming in West Antarctica, while large, has not led to appreciable melting at the surface, and is not directly affecting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet's contribution to sea level. There are about 100 species of mosses and 25 species of liverworts, but only three species of flowering plants, all of which are found in the Antarctic Peninsula: Deschampsia antarctica (Antarctic hair grass), Colobanthus quitensis (Antarctic pearlwort) and the non-native Poa annua (annual bluegrass). , In February 2020, the region recorded the highest temperature of 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), which was a degree higher than the previous record of 17.5 °C (63.5 °F) in March 2015.  This ice sheet is constantly gaining ice from snowfall and losing ice through outflow to the sea. Costing $16.3 million, the prefabricated station, which is part of the International Polar Year, was shipped to the South Pole from Belgium by the end of 2008 to monitor the health of the polar regions. Mount Erebus on Ross Island is the world's southernmost active volcano.  It was during this era that Gondwana began to break up. Many of the stations are staffed year-round, the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. In coastal areas such as Shackleton Range and Victoria Land some faulting has occurred. The apparently simple morphology, scarcely differentiated structures, metabolic systems and enzymes still active at very low temperatures, and reduced life cycles shown by such fungi make them particularly suited to harsh environments such as the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Most countries have reduced the number of scientists and staff they are sending to Antarctica, but hundreds of people still have been recently arriving as a part of routine operations. This sediment uplift was accompanied by igneous intrusions and volcanism. At a number of points in its long history, it was farther north, experienced a tropical or temperate climate, was covered in forests, and inhabited by various ancient life forms. More than 50 Antarctic stations were established for the IGY by just 12 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norwa…  The first women to step onto the South Pole were Pam Young, Jean Pearson, Lois Jones, Eileen McSaveney, Kay Lindsay and Terry Tickhill in 1969. It used to be ice-free until about 34 million years ago, when it became covered with ice. It was once believed that the lake had been sealed off for 500,000 to one million years, but a recent survey suggests that, every so often, there are large flows of water from one lake to another. By the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 Ma, Antarctica (then connected to Australia) still had a subtropical climate and flora, complete with a marsupial fauna. The largest lake, Vostok, is one of the largest sub-glacial lakes in the world. Antarctic Treaty, (Dec. 1, 1959), agreement signed by 12 nations, in which the Antarctic continent was made a demilitarized zone to be preserved for scientific research.  The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) (or even −94.7 °C (−135.8 °F) as measured from space), though the average for the third quarter (the coldest part of the year) is −63 °C (−81 °F). , About 300 million years ago Permian forests started to cover the continent, and tundra vegetation survived as late as 15 million years ago, but the climate of present-day Antarctica does not allow extensive vegetation to form. Due to its location at the South Pole, Antarctica receives relatively little solar radiation except along the southern summer. The treaty was signed by twelve countries including the Soviet Union (and later Russia), the United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Australia and the United States. , In September 2006 NASA satellite data revealed that the Antarctic ozone hole was larger than at any other time on record, at 2,750,000 km2 (1,060,000 sq mi). The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting is advised on environmental and conservation issues in Antarctica by the Committee for Environmental Protection. Other dormant volcanoes may potentially be active.  Another member of Chironomidae is Parochlus steinenii. Antarctic krill, which congregate in large schools, is the keystone species of the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean, and is an important food organism for whales, seals, leopard seals, fur seals, squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and many other birds.  Between 28 February and 8 March 2008, about 570 km2 (220 sq mi) of ice from the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the southwest part of the peninsula collapsed, putting the remaining 15,000 km2 (5,800 sq mi) of the ice shelf at risk. During the Cambrian period, Gondwana had a mild climate. In the summer more than 4,000 scientists operate research stations; this number decreases to just over 1,000 in the winter. , A single 2015 study by H. Jay Zwally et al.  However, one critic, Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, states that this outlying study's findings "are at odds with all other independent methods: re-analysis, gravity measurements, mass budget method, and other groups using the same data" and appears to arrive at more precise values than current technology and mathematical approaches would permit.  As of 2015, there are two Wells Fargo ATMs in Antarctica.. A combination of freezing temperatures, poor soil quality, lack of moisture, and lack of sunlight inhibit plant growth.  In 2004, a potentially active underwater volcano was found in the Antarctic Peninsula by American and Canadian researchers. , The first semi-permanent inhabitants of regions near Antarctica (areas situated south of the Antarctic Convergence) were British and American sealers who used to spend a year or more on South Georgia, from 1786 onward.  The primary response by Antarctic Treaty Parties has been to develop, through their Committee for Environmental Protection and in partnership with IAATO, "site use guidelines" setting landing limits and closed or restricted zones on the more frequently visited sites. The overfishing of krill, which plays a large role in the Antarctic ecosystem, led officials to enact regulations on fishing.  Several Antarctic ice streams, which account for about 10% of the ice sheet, flow to one of the many Antarctic ice shelves: see ice-sheet dynamics. The treaty resulted from a conference in Washington, D.C., attended by representatives of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Britain, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Glaciation began at the end of the Devonian period (360 Ma), as Gondwana became centred on the South Pole and the climate cooled, though flora remained. In 1998, a compromise agreement was reached to place an indefinite ban on mining, to be reviewed in 2048, further limiting economic development and exploitation. No other countries have publicly reported positive cases on Antarctica, USA Today reported, and there have been concerted efforts to ensure the virus did not reach the remote continent. Because meteorites in space absorb and record cosmic radiation, the time elapsed since the meteorite hit the Earth can be determined from laboratory studies. The frozen surface of the lake shares similarities with Jupiter's moon Europa. Travel is largely by small or medium ship, focusing on specific scenic locations with accessible concentrations of iconic wildlife. Ammonites were common in the seas around Antarctica, and dinosaurs were also present, though only three Antarctic dinosaur genera (Cryolophosaurus and Glacialisaurus, from the Hanson Formation, and Antarctopelta) have been described to date. This means that it is a very cold continent where water is mostly in the form of ice. More than 235 marine organisms live in both polar regions, having bridged the gap of 12,000 km (7,456 mi). He sailed along a huge wall of ice that was later named the Ross Ice Shelf. Third, the Earth is at aphelion in July (i.e., the Earth is farthest from the Sun in the Antarctic winter), and the Earth is at perihelion in January (i.e., the Earth is closest to the Sun in the Antarctic summer). Antarctic sea life includes penguins, blue whales, orcas, colossal squids and fur seals.  There is evidence from one study that Antarctica is warming as a result of human carbon dioxide emissions, but this remains ambiguous. Courtesy of Antarctica Flights. Countries who have signed the treaty can either be ‘consultative’ or ‘non-consultative’. The occasion was known as the International Geophysical Year (IGY), a worldwide event that actually involved 18 months of gathering and sharing data concerning the earth’s natural phenomena. , The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 "AQ" is assigned to the entire continent regardless of jurisdiction.  The ice began to spread, replacing the forests that until then had covered the continent.  Marinus of Tyre reportedly used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century CE. More than 170 million years ago, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. He is credited with implementing mechanised land transport on the continent and conducting extensive geological and biological research. Around 23 Ma, the Drake Passage opened between Antarctica and South America, resulting in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that completely isolated the continent. It is governed and protected by the Antarctic Treaty. The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation, and bans militar… , Few terrestrial vertebrates live in Antarctica, and those that do are limited to the sub-Antarctic islands. There’s a simple explanation for that – there are exactly 0 countries in Antarctica. This ice is formed from the ocean water and floats in the same water and thus does not contribute to rise in sea level.  The only documented military land manoeuvre has been the small Operation NINETY by the Argentine military in 1965.. The 12 nations listed in the preamble (below) signed the Antarctic Treaty on 1 December 1959 at Washington, D.C.
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