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Introducing Antarctica

The Frozen Continent

Check out all of Antarctica’s Geographical facts and figures.

Using the information you have found answer the following three questions:

- Where is Antarctica?
- What is Antarctica like?
- Why Antarctica is as it is?

Word document. See Antarctica: The frozen continent.

Being there

Imagine you took these pictures.

Where you are standing, how would you describe what it is like to be there?

Word alternative to interactive activity. See Being There.

Sizing up Antarctica

How big is Antarctica?

Compare the size of Antarctica to the sizes of the other continents. Find out how time of day is decided on Antarctica, where sunrise and sunset can take a very long time to come around!

Word alternative to interactive activity. See Sizing up Antarctica.

Antarctic seasonal change

During the winter months, Antarctica’s surrounding waters freeze over. Sea-ice stretches out over the surface, making the continent much bigger.

World upside down

From Antarctica, the other continents and the rest of the world don’t seem quite as familiar!

Measuring ice

A bird’s eye view and a cross-section through Antarctica, to help you find out more about Antarctica’s ice sheets.

Making a trailer

Imagine you are part of a team making a one minute trailer for a movie based in Antarctica.

Antarctica - The Movie

Imagine you are a location scout and a wannabe scriptwriter for a Hollywood movie company.

Antarctic acrostic

write an acrostic for the word ANTARCTICA, using adjectives that describe what it is like.

Oceans, atmosphere, landscape

Are Tours Ever Eco?

Use the chart to evaluate whether two tour operators are running responsible and ‘eco’ holidays to Antarctica.

Future of Antarctica

People hold many different views on what Antarctica should be like in the future. What do you think?

Ozone data spreadsheet

Data for average October ozone measured above Halley Research Station and the global amount of CFC-11 released annually (1956 to 1992)

Rothera research station

Information and pictures for Rothera Research Station, on Adelaide Island in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Ice core

Take a trip back in time! Find out what scientists have already discovered from ice cores.

Rising seas letter template

Write a letter to the United Nations explaining why you want action NOW to prevent predictions of sea level rises from happening.

Valley glacier diagram

Cross section of a valley glacier introducing some of the key features and terminology that is used when studying glaciers.

Ecosystems and foodwebs

Focus on fish

20% of our protein comes from fish, but some fish stocks are dropping to dangerous levels.

Who's looking at you?

Find out about some of the ways animals adapt to the extreme Antarctic environment.

Who's eating who

Complete this Antarctic food web activity by putting the animals in their correct positions on the diagram.

Science and exploration

Prepare to travel south

Complete the timeline and learn about what it takes to get all the way to Rothera Research Station in the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll need to think of everything before you’re allowed to venture out to collect your data as a fully-fledged Antarctic scientist.

Word alternative to interactive activity. See Prepare to travel south.

Spot the difference

What are the differences and similarities between the North and South Poles?

sea data: ph spreadsheet

Data collected on January 12, 2009 at Ryder Bay, northern Marguerite Bay, Antarctica, near Rothera Research Station.

Air data: dew spreadsheet

Data collected on January 1, 2009 at Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island, Antarctic Peninsula.

Postcards from Antarctica

Write to a friend or member of your family about living and working on a research station in Antarctica.

Map of Antarctic stations

Map showing the current facilities and stations in Antarctica with an overlay of selected Historical Sites and Monuments (HSMs). The selection on the map includes the major British Heritage Sites and others that are mentioned in the rest of the "Bases for understanding" section.

South polar times images

A collection of images from the "South Polar Times", an in-house magazine produced during the Discovery expedition to Antarctica by the explorers themselves.

Collect data about the ocean

Rothera Research Station is the British Antarctic Survey’s centre for marine science. Experienced divers explore all year round. In the winter months, the sea freezes so divers have to cut a hole in the ice before they can dive down below the frozen surface.

Collect data about the land

Rothera Research Station is the central hub of the British Antarctic Survey field science programme. Each season, up to 30 field teams are flown out to locations all over the Antarctic Peninsula to gather data from specific remote sites.

Collect data about the air

Atmospheric studies have been going on at Rothera for over 30 years, providing vital information about the changes going on in the atmosphere above the Antarctic Peninsula. Weather balloons are launched every day, giving scientists an unbroken record of long and short-term trends.

The scope of IPY science

International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 was the largest internationally co-ordinated research programme for 50 years. It was an intensive period of interdisciplinary science focused on the Arctic and Antarctic.

IPY in a nutshell

International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2008 was the largest co-ordinated international scientific effort for 50 years. From ice sheets and space science to Arctic communities and the creatures of the Southern Ocean, IPY included more than 200 Arctic and Antarctic projects and harnessed the skills of 50,000 people – including scientists, students and support staff – from 63 nations.

The importance of polar science

Polar science is hugely important to help us to understand how the Earth works. During International Polar Year 2007/08, 50,000 participants from over 60 countries studied key issues such as weather and climate and the impact on human societies.

Guess the gadget

Technology plays a big part in Antarctic science. As new and improved gadgets and techniques are developed, collecting or analysing scientific data becomes easier and quicker.

Living and working in Antarctica

Antarctica has no native human population, but each year around 4,000 people from over 30 countries live and work on research stations on the continent. Of about 50 permanent stations, about three quarters operate right through the year.

Keeping healthy

Antarctica can be a very dangerous place. All staff working for the British Antarctic Survey have to undergo lengthy medical tests before they can work in one of the research stations. Nevertheless, people based in Antarctica still have to take care to avoid risks to their health as evacuation is often impossible.

Race to the pole

Read about 12 key events in Antarctica’s discovery and exploration. Red dots on the map show where they took place.

- Decide what you think are the five most important of these events.
- Use the co-ordinates to find the matching red dots for each on the map.
- Use arrows and words to label captions on your map to describe your five most important moments in Antarctica’s history.
- Compare your map with your neighbour – have you chosen the same events?

Wilkins Ice Shelf Science Briefing

The breakout in March 2008 of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is the latest drama in a region that has experienced unprecedented warming over the last 50 years. In the past 30 years seven floating ice shelves retreated, with very little of their area now remaining. The changes give us clues about the impact of climate change across Antarctica in the coming centuries.

Tourism

Antarctic visitor guide template

Design a graphic novel guide to give advice to people planning a holiday in Antarctica, or design a poster giving visitors advice about how they should behave while there.

Antarctic tourist

Tourist image with speech bubbles... add your reasons to visit Antarctica as a tourist.

Postcards from Antarctica

Write to a friend or member of your family about living and working on a research station in Antarctica.

Antarctic seasonal change

During the winter months, Antarctica’s surrounding waters freeze over. Sea-ice stretches out over the surface, making the continent much bigger.

Challenges

Toothfish: data analysis support

Support document for the Overfishing activity.

This task is designed to analyse the relationship between the numbers of IUU caught toothfish and time. From this you may be able to infer whether the management of the Southern Ocean has been a success.

Future of Antarctica

People hold many different views on what Antarctica should be like in the future. What do you think?

Bio prospecting

Launch an enquiry into Antarctica’s Resources and consider what might happen to Antarctica's supplies if things carry on as they are.

Essay Plan: The Future of Antarctica

Discuss the view that the preservation of Antarctica as a site for peace and science is merely a romantic idea and is very unrealistic in modern times.

Newspaper article: Laura Leaf

This newspaper is reporting on what might happen to Antarctica in the future. According to Laura Leaf, Antarctica will …

Newspaper article: Sydney Suit

This newspaper is reporting on what might happen to Antarctica in the future. According to Sidney Suit Antarctica will …

Antarctica - let it be!

At the moment, the Antarctic Treaty determines what people can or cannot do on the continent, but there is always a risk that governments will abandon the treaty. Discussions on opening up Antarctica for mining resources like coal and oil, or using it for a dumping ground for waste should never happen. The ban on these activities must be permanent. Antarctica is too precious – it should have guaranteed protection for another thousand years, not fifty.

Hats activity

How do you personally feel about this view of the future? Happy? Angry? Disturbed? Or do you feel something else?

Antarctica - Dig it up!

Most people couldn’t care less about Antarctica and know little about it. Some might have seen a TV programme about one of the heroic explorers like Shackleton, but they know little about the scientific research that goes on there, or how beautiful it is. To most, it’s like another planet - a cold, distant place, home to penguins. For them, signs of global warming and the gradual destruction of the last clean environment on Earth are easy to take.

A treasure trove of resources

Beneath the ice, Antarctica may be hiding a treasure trove of minerals, including vast oil fields beneath the Ross and Weddell Seas.

Bio-prospecting

Antarctic fish are highly sought after by biotechnology companies, companies that invent new medicines, foods or industrial products from living organisms.

How is Antarctica governed?

Territorial claims map

Map of Antarctica showing the seven countries that have territorial claims on the continent.