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Online Geography Resources

 

The Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem

 
Geography Starter

Starter

 
An automatic weather station in Antarctica.
 
Geography Activities

Activities

 

Task One: Produce a Climate Graph for Vostok South Pole Station

 
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average daily temperature (°C)
- 32.1
- 44.3
- 57.9
- 64.7
- 65.6
- 65.2
- 66.9
- 67.6
- 66
- 57.1
- 43.3
- 32.1
Mean monthly rainfall (mm)
0.1
0
0.7
0.5
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
 
You could produce the climate graph by hand or using Excel. The instruction for using Excel to produce a climate graph can be found on this webpage.
 

Task Two: Understanding Food Webs

 

Task Three: Read a news article about over fishing in the Southern Ocean and make a comment

Antarctic Wildlife at Risk From Overfishing, Experts Say

James Owen in England for National Geographic News - August 5, 2003

Krill

Scientists say urgent international action is needed to safeguard the Southern Ocean's unique wildlife.

The Circumpolar Sea, what some call the Southern Ocean, has a long history of human over-exploitation. Fur seals, elephant seals, and the great whales were all hunted to the brink of extinction. Now scientists say increased Antarctic krill and fish catches could trigger a catastrophic collapse in the entire marine ecosystem.

"Krill" is Norwegian for "whale food"—an apt name for this essential building block for life in the Southern Ocean. Growing to six centimeters (a little more than an inch) long, and often living in dense swarms several miles wide, the shrimp-like crustacean is crucial to many birds and mammals.

John Croxall, principal research scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, said: "For many marine mammals and sea birds, particularly in the South Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, krill is by far the most important item of their diet. This is true for minke whale, Antarctic fur seal, Adelie, chinstrap, gentoo and macaroni penguins, black-browed albatross, and white-chinned and cape petrels."

During the 1990s, when krill became less abundant, researchers found that seals, penguins, and albatrosses all struggled to raise their young.

The current Antarctic krill catch is around 120,000 tonnes (132,280 tons) a year, though this figure is well within sustainable levels for a species with an estimated total biomass greater than any multi-cellular animal on Earth, including man.

Rapid growth in the fish farming and biotechnology industries are two key threats to sustainable harvests.

He says fish farming is expanding at a rate of 11 percent each year. In a decade, output is expected to exceed catches from ocean fisheries and overtake global beef production within 20 years. Fish farming currently consumes 70 percent of the world's fish oil supply and 34 percent of total fishmeal, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature, with stocks in many Atlantic and Pacific fisheries already in danger of collapse. Fish feed producers are now looking at Antarctic krill to meet future demand. Krill has particular value for salmon farmers as it contains astaxanthin—a carotenoid that turns salmon flesh an appetizing pink.

Drug companies claim krill contains substances that can treat a range of human ailments, including heart disease, premenstrual tension, and skin cancer. Patents are pending for various krill-based medications.

Adapted from Source

 

Read the news article "Antarctic Wildlife at Risk From Over fishing, Experts Say" making sure you understand all the words and terms used.

 
Geography Review

Review

 
Using your climate graph find out the following information and see how much of it you can remember for next lesson!
 
Hottest Month
Temperature (°C) of Hottest Month
Coldest Month
Temperature (°C) of Coldest Month
Wettest Month
Amount of rainfall (mm) during Wettest Month
Driest Month
Amount of rainfall (mm) during Driest Month
 

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