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Polar Regions

(A). ANTARCTICA:

it is the smallest continent covering an area of 14.2 million sq.km (8.9 million sq.m)

1. Regions: The Antarctica comprises of following regions:

East Antarctica, which is 3000000 sq.miles (7770000 Sq.km)

And West Antarctica which is 2500000 sq.miles (6475000 sq.km)

2. Geographic South Pole: It is the southern most part of the earth where all lines of longitude meet.

3. Magnetic South Pole: The magnetic south pole shifts about 5 miles a year and is now located at about 66 degree south and 139 degree east on the Adeli coast of Antarctica.

4. Climate: Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and the driest continent of the world.

5. Terrain: The terrain comprises of the a Thick ice sheet (98%) and a barren rock (2%).

Note: Glaciers from the ice shelves along about half of the coastline and floating ice shelves cover 11 percent of the area of Antarctica. The continental ice sheet contains 7 million cubic miles of ice representing 90 of world’s total ice. Ice shelves make about 10 % of total ice and form floating sheet of ice.

6. Elevations Extremes: The highest point of Antarctic Region is Vinson Massif which is 16066 ft high, while the lowest point is Bentley Trench which 8327 ft deep.

B. THE ARCTIC:

The Arctic region surrounds north pole and is primarily made up of frozen ice. Landmasses belonging to Asia, Europe and North America converge on this region. It covers an area of 5.4 million Sq.m (14.056 million sq.km).

  1. Region: A line called summer isotherm divides the Arctic into the following two regions:
  • Arctic Region with extreme cold climate
  • Sub-arctic region with summer temperatures with average of 10 degree Celsius.

2. Geographic North Pole: it is the northern end of axis of Earth which is located at 90 degree north latitude.

3. Magnetic North Pole: it continues to shift and is located at 82 degree North and 114 degree West in the Queen Elisabeth Island (Canada).

4. Climate: Summer season is rich with daylight, damp and foggy weather with cyclones of rain or snow. The winter is colder with continued darkness.

5. Terrain: Central surface of arctic is covered by a drifting polar ice-pack with a thickness of 5 meters. However, in the summer, the ice pack is surrounded by open seas.

6. Elevation Extremes: Highest point of Arctic Region is Sea Level while the lowest point is Farm Basin which 4665 meter deep.

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