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Does Antarctica need protecting?

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Antarctica is the fifth largest of the seven continents. In area it is larger than Europe. The Antarctic continent is covered by a huge thickness of ice which covers over 90% of its area. This ice cap holds over 90% of the world's fresh water in a frozen state. In winter the continent appears to double in size as the ice spreads northwards - sometimes as far as South Georgia. Icebergs have been seen north of the Falkland Islands. The Antarctic contains the largest amount of ice in the world. The ice is very different from the Arctic where the ice is floating and very much thinner. Greenland has the only comparable large ice cap in the northern hemisphere on land. Antarctica is the driest continent on earth. The amount of moisture received by the polar is comparable to that falling on the world's hot deserts. Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth. The lowest temperature ever recorded on earth is minus 89.2C at Vostok, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, in 1983. Antarctica is the windiest continent on earth. Winds flow down the coastal slopes under the influence of gravity. Speeds of these winds have been recorded up to 327 kilometres per hour. Antarctica is the highest continent on earth: average elevation is 2500 meters (average elevation of Australia is only 340 meters). ...read more.


For example global warming may contribute to break-up of large areas of ice-shelf and cause loss of habitat for animals' dependent on the ice-shelf; increasing UV radiation may cause changes to phytoplankton communities and could have effects up the food chain. Global change may also bring about changes in the Antarctic that could have serious environmental consequences elsewhere in the world, for example changes in the amount of water locked up in Antarctic ice may contribute to global sea level change. Finally, the Antarctic region is a sensitive indicator of global change. The polar ice cap holds within it a record of past atmospheres that go back tens or even hundreds of thousands of years, allowing study of the earth's natural climate cycles against which the significance of recent changes can be judged. Background Information A map showing the location of each of the countries laying claim to Antarctica: Development data for the 7 countries that lay claim to Antarctica: Donut Graph to show GDP per Capita comparison of the 7 countries laying claim to Antarctica: The map shows that the countries in the following order largest to smallest have claim: 1. Australia 2. Norway 3. Chile 4. Argentina 5. New Zealand 6. UK 7. French However the GDP of each country largest to smallest is in the following order: 1. Norway 2. France 3. ...read more.


2. Ratification by the United States of the Agreed Measures for Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora. 3. A ban on harvesting of living resources except for scientific purposes, until a management arrangement is developed, based on an assessment of its effect on the total Southern Ocean ecosystem. Exploitation under existing agreements (e.g., Antarctic Seal Convention and the International Whaling Commission whaling quotas) should be included in determining this assessment. 4. The continued agreement under the Antarctic Treaty prohibiting the disposal of radioactive wastes. Extension of the prohibition to include any highly toxic or long-lasting wastes. 5. The continued agreement under the Antarctic Treaty prohibiting all military activities. 6. Strengthened and continued strict control of all scientific research and an open exchange of information. 7. Limited tourism and its careful management so as to avoid pollution and damage to the Antarctic environment. 8. Increased public participation in the decision- making process on Antarctica, including the establishment of an advisory committee on which environmental interests are represented. I think the Antarctic should be used in an efficient, protective manor in which people can enjoy it. For this to happen the countries that are laying claim to Antarctica should let go of their claim and share Antarctica as one whole continent, a bit like the EU. Once this has been done sections of Antarctica should cordoned off for different purposes e.g. 1/8 for tourism, 1/4 for viable fishing. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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