Antarctica Population: no indigenous inhabitants

30 VISITORS FROM HERE!


« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview
  
 History
Speculation over the existence of a "southern land" was not confirmed until the early 1820s when British and American commercial operators and British and Russian national expeditions began exploring the Antarctic Peninsula region and other areas south of the Antarctic Circle. Not until 1840 was it established that Antarctica was indeed a continent and not merely a group of islands or an area of ocean. Several exploration "firsts" were achieved in the early 20th century, but generally the area saw little human activity. Following World War II, however, the continent experienced an upsurge in scientific research. A number of countries have set up a range of year-round and seasonal stations, camps, and refuges to support scientific research in Antarctica. Seven have made territorial claims, but most countries do not recognize these claims. In order to form a legal framework for the activities of nations on the continent, an Antarctic Treaty was negotiated that neither denies nor gives recognition to existing territorial claims; signed in 1959, it entered into force in 1961.  Also relevant to Antarctic governance are the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

 Geography
    The coldest, windiest, highest (on average), and driest continent; during summer, more solar radiation reaches the surface at the South Pole than is received at the Equator in an equivalent period mostly uninhabitable, 98% of the land area is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, the largest single mass of ice on earth covering an area of 14 million sq km (5.4 million sq mi) and containing 26.5 million cu km (6.4 million cu mi) of ice (this is almost 62% of all of the world's fresh water); if all this ice were converted to liquid water, one estimate is that it would be sufficient to raise the height of the world's oceans by 58 m (190 ft)
Location: continent mostly south of the Antarctic Circle
Geographic coordinates: 90 00 S, 0 00 E
Area: total: 14.2 million sq km
land: 14.2 million sq km (285,000 sq km ice-free, 13.915 million sq km ice-covered) (est.)

note: fifth-largest continent, following Asia, Africa, North America, and South America, but larger than Australia and the subcontinent of Europe

Size comparison: slightly less than 1.5 times the size of the US
Land Boundaries: 0 note: see entry on Disputes - international
Coastline: 17,968 km
Maritime claims: Australia, Chile, and Argentina claim Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) rights or similar over 200 nm extensions seaward from their continental claims, but like the claims themselves, these zones are not accepted by other countries; 22 of 29 Antarctic Treaty consultative parties have made no claims to Antarctic territory (although Russia and the US have reserved the right to do so); also see the Disputes - international entry
Climate: the coldest, windiest, and driest continent on Earth; severe low temperatures vary with latitude, elevation, and distance from the ocean; East Antarctica is colder than West Antarctica because of its higher elevation; Antarctic Peninsula has the most moderate climate; higher temperatures occur in January along the coast and average slightly below freezing; summers characterized by continuous daylight, while winters bring continous darkness; persistent high pressure over the interior brings dry, subsiding air that results in very little cloud cover
Terrain: about 98% thick continental ice sheet and 2% barren rock, with average elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 m; mountain ranges up to nearly 5,000 m; ice-free coastal areas include parts of southern Victoria Land, Wilkes Land, the Antarctic Peninsula area, and parts of Ross Island on McMurdo Sound; glaciers form ice shelves along about half of the coastline, and floating ice shelves constitute 11% of the area of the continent
Natural resources: iron ore, chromium, copper, gold, nickel, platinum and other minerals, and coal and hydrocarbons have been found in small noncommercial quantities; mineral exploitation except for scientific research is banned by the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty; krill, icefish, toothfish, and crab have been taken by commercial fisheries, which are managed through the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR)
Land use: 0% (2015 est.)
Natural hazards: katabatic (gravity-driven) winds blow coastward from the high interior; frequent blizzards form near the foot of the plateau; cyclonic storms form over the ocean and move clockwise along the coast; volcanism on Deception Island and isolated areas of West Antarctica; other seismic activity rare and weak; large icebergs may calve from ice shelf
Current Environment Issues: the discovery of a large Antarctic ozone hole in the earth's stratosphere (the ozone layer) - first announced in 1985 - spurred the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, an international agreement phasing out the use of ozone-depleting chemicals; the ozone layer prevents most harmful wavelengths of ultra-violet (UV) light from passing through the earth's atmosphere; ozone depletion has been shown to harm a variety of Antarctic marine plants and animals (plankton); in 2016, a gradual trend toward "healing" of the ozone hole was reported; since the 1990s, satellites have shown accelerating ice loss driven by ocean change; although considerable uncertainty remains, scientists are increasing our understanding and ability to model potential impacts of ice loss
^Back to Top
 People
Nationality:
Ethnic groups:
Languages:
Religions:
Population: no indigenous inhabitants, but there are both permanent and summer-only staffed research stations note: 53 countries have signed the 1959 Antarctic Treaty; 30 of those operate through their National Antarctic Program a number of seasonal-only (summer) and year-round research stations on the continent and its nearby islands south of 60 degrees south latitude (the region covered by the Antarctic Treaty); the population engaging in and supporting science or managing and protecting the Antarctic region varies from approximately 4,400 in summer to 1,100 in winter; in addition, approximately 1,000 personnel, including ship's crew and scientists doing onboard research, are present in the waters of the treaty region as of 2017, peak summer (December-February) maximum capacity in scientific stations - 4,877 total; Argentina 601, Australia 243, Belarus 12, Belgium 40, Brazil 66, Bulgaria 22, Chile 433, China 166, Czechia 20, Ecuador 34, Finland 17, France 90, France and Italy jointly 80, Germany 104, India 113, Italy 120, Japan 130, South Korea 130, Netherlands 10, NZ 86, Norway 70, Peru 30, Poland 40, Russia 335, South Africa 80, Spain 98, Sweden 20, Ukraine 24, UK 196, US 1,399, Uruguay 68 (2017) winter (June-August) maximum capacity in scientific station - 1,036 total; Argentina 221, Australia 52, Brazil 15, Chile 114, China 32, France 24, France and Italy jointly 13, Germany 9, India 48, Japan 40, Netherlands 10, South Korea 25, NZ 11, Norway 7, Poland 16, Russia 125, South Africa 15, Ukraine 12, UK 44, US 215, Uruguay 8 (2017) research stations operated within the Antarctic Treaty area (south of 60 degrees south latitude) by National Antarctic Programs year-round stations - approximately 40 total; Argentina 6, Australia 3, Brazil 1, Chile 6, China 2, France 1, France and Italy jointly 1, Germany 1, India 2, Japan 1, Netherlands 1, South Korea 2, NZ 1, Norway 1, Poland 1, Russia 5, South Africa 1, Ukraine 1, UK 2, US 3, Uruguay 2 (2017) a range of seasonal-only (summer) stations, camps, and refuges - Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, China, Czechia, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, UK, US, and Uruguay (2017) in addition, during the austral summer some nations have numerous occupied locations such as tent camps, summer-long temporary facilities, and mobile traverses in support of research
Population growth rate:
Sex ratio:
Literacy:
^Back to Top
 Government
Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Antarctica
etymology: name derived from two Greek words meaning "opposite to the Arctic" or "opposite to the north"
Government type: Antarctic Treaty Summary - the Antarctic region is governed by a system known as the Antarctic Treaty system; the system includes: 1. the Antarctic Treaty, signed on 1 December 1959 and entered into force on 23 June 1961, which establishes the legal framework for the management of Antarctica, 2. Measures, Decisions, and Resolutions adopted at Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings, 3. The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972), 4. The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980), and 5. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (1991); the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings operate by consensus (not by vote) of all consultative parties at annual Treaty meetings; by January 2016, there were 53 treaty member nations: 29 consultative and 24 non-consultative; consultative (decision-making) members include the seven nations that claim portions of Antarctica as national territory (some claims overlap) and 22 non-claimant nations; the US and Russia have reserved the right to make claims; the US does not recognize the claims of others; Antarctica is administered through meetings of the consultative member nations; measures adopted at these meetings are carried out by these member nations (with respect to their own nationals and operations) in accordance with their own national laws; the years in parentheses indicate when a consultative member-nation acceded to the Treaty and when it was accepted as a consultative member, while no date indicates the country was an original 1959 treaty signatory; claimant nations are - Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, NZ, Norway, and the UK; nonclaimant consultative nations are - Belgium, Brazil (1975/1983), Bulgaria (1978/1998), China (1983/1985), Czech Republic (1962/2014), Ecuador (1987/1990), Finland (1984/1989), Germany (1979/1981), India (1983/1983), Italy (1981/1987), Japan, South Korea (1986/1989), Netherlands (1967/1990), Peru (1981/1989), Poland (1961/1977), Russia, South Africa, Spain (1982/1988), Sweden (1984/1988), Ukraine (1992/2004), Uruguay (1980/1985), and the US; non-consultative members, with year of accession in parentheses, are - Austria (1987), Belarus (2006), Canada (1988), Colombia (1989), Cuba (1984), Denmark (1965), Estonia (2001), Greece (1987), Guatemala (1991), Hungary (1984), Iceland (2015), Kazakhstan (2015), North Korea (1987), Malaysia (2011), Monaco (2008), Mongolia (2015), Pakistan (2012), Papua New Guinea (1981), Portugal (2010), Romania (1971), Slovakia (1962/1993), Switzerland (1990), Turkey (1996), and Venezuela (1999); note - Czechoslovakia acceded to the Treaty in 1962 and separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993; Article 1 - area to be used for peaceful purposes only; military activity, such as weapons testing, is prohibited, but military personnel and equipment may be used for scientific research or any other peaceful purpose; Article 2 - freedom of scientific investigation and cooperation shall continue; Article 3 - free exchange of information and personnel, cooperation with the UN and other international agencies; Article 4 - does not recognize, dispute, or establish territorial claims and no new claims shall be asserted while the treaty is in force; Article 5 - prohibits nuclear explosions or disposal of radioactive wastes;Article 6 - includes under the treaty all land and ice shelves south of 60 degrees 00 minutes south and reserves high seas rights; Article 7 - treaty-state observers have free access, including aerial observation, to any area and may inspect all stations, installations, and equipment; advance notice of all expeditions and of the introduction of military personnel must be given; Article 8 - allows for jurisdiction over observers and scientists by their own states; Article 9 - frequent consultative meetings take place among member nations; Article 10 - treaty states will discourage activities by any country in Antarctica that are contrary to the treaty; Article 11 - disputes to be settled peacefully by the parties concerned or, ultimately, by the ICJ; Articles 12, 13, 14 - deal with upholding, interpreting, and amending the treaty among involved nations; other agreements - some 200 measures adopted at treaty consultative meetings and approved by governments; the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed 4 October 1991 and entered into force 14 January 1998; this agreement provides for the protection of the Antarctic environment and includes five annexes that have entered into force: 1) environmental impact assessment, 2) conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora, 3) waste disposal and waste management, 4) prevention of marine pollution, 5) area protection and management; a sixth annex addressing liability arising from environmental emergencies has yet to enter into force; the Protocol prohibits all activities relating to mineral resources except scientific research; a permanent Antarctic Treaty Secretariat was established in 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Capital:
Administrative divisions:
Independence:
National holiday:
Constitution:
Legal system: Antarctica is administered through annual meetings - known as Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings - which include consultative member nations, non-consultative member nations, observer organizations, and expert organizations; decisions from these meetings are carried out by these member nations (with respect to their own nationals and operations) in accordance with their own national laws; more generally, the Antarctic Treaty area, that is to all areas between 60 and 90 degrees south latitude, is subject to a number of relevant legal instruments and procedures adopted by the states party to the Antarctic Treaty; note - US law, including certain criminal offenses by or against US nationals, such as murder, may apply extraterritoriality; some US laws directly apply to Antarctica; for example, the Antarctic Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. section 2401 et seq., provides civil and criminal penalties for the following activities unless authorized by regulation of statute: the taking of native mammals or birds; the introduction of nonindigenous plants and animals; entry into specially protected areas; the discharge or disposal of pollutants; and the importation into the US of certain items from Antarctica; violation of the Antarctic Conservation Act carries penalties of up to $10,000 in fines and one year in prison; the National Science Foundation and Department of Justice share enforcement responsibilities; Public Law 95-541, the US Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978, as amended in 1996, requires expeditions from the US to Antarctica to notify, in advance, the Office of Oceans and Polar Affairs, Room 2665, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520, which reports such plans to other nations as required by the Antarctic Treaty; for more information, contact antarctica@state.gov
Suffrage:
Executive branch:
Legislative branch:
Judicial branch:
Political parties and leaders:
International organization participation:
National anthem:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Diplomatic representation from the US:
^Back to Top
 Economy
Scientific undertakings rather than commercial pursuits are the predominant human activity in Antarctica. Offshore fishing and tourism, both based abroad, account for Antarctica's limited economic activity. Antarctic Fisheries, within the area covered by the Convention on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources currently target Patagonian toothfish, Antarctic toothfish, mackerel icefish and Antarctic krill. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) manages these fisheries using the ecosystem-based and precautionary approach.  The Commission’s objective is conservation of Antarctic marine living resources and it regulates the fisheries based on the level of information available, and maintaining existing ecological relationships.  While Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing has declined in the Convention area since 1990, it remains a concern A total of 51,707  tourists visited the Antarctic Treaty area in the 2017-2018  Antarctic summer, 17 percent greater than the 43,915 visitors in 2016-2017. These estimates were provided to the Antarctic Treaty by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators and do not include passengers on overflights. Nearly all of the tourists were passengers on commercial ships and several yachts that make trips during the summer.
Agriculture - products:
Industries:
Labor force:
Budget:
Exports:
Exports - commodities:
Imports:
Imports - commodities:
Exchange rates:
^Back to Top
 Energy
^Back to Top
 Communications
Telephone system: general assessment: local systems at some research stations (2019)

domestic: commercial cellular networks operating in a small number of locations (2019)

international: country code - none allocated; via satellite (including mobile Inmarsat and Iridium systems) to and from all research stations, ships, aircraft, and most field parties
Internet country code: .aq
Internet users: total: 4,400
percent of population: 100% (July 2016 est.)
^Back to Top
 Transportation
Airports: 23 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 23
(2013) over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
Heliports: 53 (2012) note: all year-round and seasonal stations operated by National Antarctic Programs stations have some kind of helicopter landing facilities, prepared (helipads) or unprepared
Roadways:
Ports and terminals: most coastal stations have sparse and intermittent offshore anchorages; a few stations have basic wharf facilities
^Back to Top
 Military
The Antarctic Treaty prohibits any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military maneuvers, or the testing of any type of weapon; it permits the use of military personnel or equipment for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes
^Back to Top
 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: the Antarctic Treaty freezes, and most states do not recognize, the land and maritime territorial claims made by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the UK (some overlapping) for three-fourths of the continent; the US and Russia reserve the right to make claims
^Back to Top


« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview


   Source: CIA - The World Factbook
 

Flag Counter