Statistical information Antarctica 2001Antarctica

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Antarctica in the World
Antarctica in the World

Qatar Airways

Antarctica - Introduction 2001
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Background: 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 Peninsula region and areas south of the Antarctic Circle. Not until 1838 was it established that Antarctica was indeed a continent and not just a group of islands. Various 'firsts' were achieved in the early 20th century including: 1902 first balloon flight (by British explorer Robert Falcon SCOTT); 1912 first to the South Pole (five Norwegian explorers under Roald AMUNDSEN); 1928 first fixed-wing aircraft flight (by Australian adventurer/explorer Sir Hubert WILKINS); 1929 first flight over the South Pole (by Americans Richard BYRD and Bernt BALCHEN); and 1935 first transantarctic flight (American Lincoln ELLSWORTH). Following World War II there was an upsurge in scientific research on the continent. A number of countries have set up year-round research stations on Antarctica. Seven have made territorial claims but no other country recognizes 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.

Antarctica - Geography 2001
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Location: continent mostly south of the Antarctic Circle

Geographic coordinates: 90 00 S 0 00 E

Map referenceAntarctic Region

Total: 14 million km²
Land: 14 million km² (280,000 km² ice-free, 13.72 million km² ice-covered) (est.)
Note: fifth-largest continent, following Asia, Africa, North America, and South America, but larger than Australia and the subcontinent of Europe
Comparative: slightly less than 1.5 times the size of the US

Land boundaries
Note: see entry on International disputes

Coastline: 17,968 km

Maritime claims: none; twenty of 27 Antarctic consultative nations have made no claims to Antarctic territory (although Russia and the US have reserved the right to do so) and do not recognize the claims of the other nations; also see the Disputes - international entry

Climate: 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

Terrain: about 98% thick continental ice sheet and 2% barren rock with average elevations between 2000 and 4,000 meters; mountain ranges up to 5,140 meters; 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

Extremes lowest point: Bentley Subglacial Trench -2,540 m
Extremes highest point: Vinson Massif 5,140 m
Extremes note: the lowest known land point in Antarctica is hidden in the Bentley Subglacial Trench; at its surface is the deepest ice yet discovered and the world's lowest elevation not under sea water

Natural resources: iron ore chromium copper gold nickel platinum and other minerals and coal and hydrocarbons have been found in small uncommercial quantities; none presently exploited; krill finfish and crab have been taken by commercial fisheries
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 0%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 0%
Forests and woodland: 0%
Other: 100% (ice 98%, barren rock 2%)

Irrigated land: 0 km² (1993)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

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

Note: 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

Antarctica - People 2001
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Note: approximately 29 nations, all signatory to the Antarctic Treaty, send personnel to perform seasonal (summer) and year-round research on the continent and in its surrounding oceans; the population of persons doing and supporting science on the continent and its nearby islands south of 60 degrees south latitude (the region covered by the Antarctic Treaty) varies from approximately 4,000 in summer to 1,000 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; Summer (January) population - 3,687 total; Argentina 302, Australia 201, Belgium 13, Brazil 80, Bulgaria 16, Chile 352, China 70, Finland 11, France 100, Germany 51, India 60, Italy 106, Japan 136, South Korea 14, Netherlands 10, NZ 60, Norway 40, Peru 28, Poland 70, Russia 254, South Africa 80, Spain 43, Sweden 20, UK 192, US 1,378 (1998-99); Winter (July) population - 964 total; Argentina 165, Australia 75, Brazil 12, Chile 129, China 33, France 33, Germany 9, India 25, Japan 40, South Korea 14, NZ 10, Poland 20, Russia 102, South Africa 10, UK 39, US 248 (1998-99); year-round stations - 42 total; Argentina 6, Australia 4, Brazil 1, Chile 4, China 2, Finland 1, France 1, Germany 1, India 1, Italy 1, Japan 1, South Korea 1, NZ 1, Norway 1, Poland 1, Russia 6, South Africa 1, Spain 1, Ukraine 1, UK 2, US 3, Uruguay 1 (1998-99); Summer-only stations - 32 total; Argentina 3, Australia 4, Bulgaria 1, Chile 7, Germany 1, India 1, Japan 3, NZ 1, Peru 1, Russia 3, Sweden 2, UK 5 (1998-99); 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 (July 2001 est.)


Ethnic groups



Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate

Death rate

Net migration rate

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: in 1998 NASA satellite data showed that the antarctic ozone hole was the largest on record covering 27 million square kilometers; researchers in 1997 found that increased ultraviolet light coming through the hole damages the DNA of icefish an antarctic fish lacking hemoglobin; ozone depletion earlier was shown to harm one-celled antarctic marine plants

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth

Total fertility rate

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures


School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Antarctica - Government 2001
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Country name
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Antarctica

Government type: Antarctic Treaty Summary - the Antarctic Treaty signed on 1 December 1959 and entered into force on 23 June 1961 establishes the legal framework for the management of Antarctica. The 23rd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting was held in Peru in May 1999. At the end of 2000 there were 44 treaty member nations: 27 consultative and 17 non-consultative. Consultative (voting) members include the seven nations that claim portions of Antarctica as national territory (some claims overlap) and 20 nonclaimant 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. Decisions from these meetings are carried out by these member nations (within their areas) in accordance with their own national laws. The year in parentheses indicates when an acceding nation was voted to full consultative (voting) status while no date indicates the country was an original 1959 treaty signatory. Claimant nations are - Argentina Australia Chile France New Zealand Norway and the UK. Nonclaimant consultative nations are - Belgium Brazil (1983) Bulgaria (1998) China (1985) Ecuador (1990) Finland (1989) Germany (1981) India (1983) Italy (1987) Japan South Korea (1989) Netherlands (1990) Peru (1989) Poland (1977) Russia South Africa Spain (1988) Sweden (1988) Uruguay (1985) and the US. Non-consultative (nonvoting) members with year of accession in parentheses are - Austria (1987) Canada (1988) Colombia (1989) Cuba (1984) Czech Republic (1993) Denmark (1965) Greece (1987) Guatemala (1991) Hungary (1984) North Korea (1987) Papua New Guinea (1981) Romania (1971) Slovakia (1993) Switzerland (1990) Turkey (1995) Ukraine (1992) and Venezuela (1999). 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 recommendations adopted at treaty consultative meetings and ratified by governments include - Agreed Measures for Fauna and Flora (1964) which were later incorporated into the Environmental Protocol; Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972); Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980); a mineral resources agreement was signed in 1988 but remains unratified; 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 through five specific annexes: 1) marine pollution 2) fauna and flora 3) environmental impact assessments 4) waste management and 5) protected area management; it prohibits all activities relating to mineral resources except scientific research.


Administrative divisions

Dependent areas


National holiday


Legal system: Antarctica is administered through meetings of the consultative member nations. Decisions from these meetings are carried out by these member nations (within their areas) in accordance with their own national laws. US law including certain criminal offenses by or against US nationals such as murder may apply extra-territorially. Some US laws directly apply to Antarctica. For example the Antarctic Conservation Act 16 U.S.C. section 2,401 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 5,801 Department of State Washington DC 20,520 which reports such plans to other nations as required by the Antarctic Treaty. For more information contact Permit Office Office of Polar Programs National Science Foundation Arlington Virginia 22,230; telephone: (703) 292-8,030 or see their website at

International law organization participation



Executive branch

Legislative branch

Judicial branch

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Antarctica

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Antarctica - Economy 2001
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Economy overview: Fishing off the coast and tourism both based abroad account for the limited economic activity. Antarctic fisheries in 1998-99 (1 July-30 June) reported landing 119,898 metric tons. Unregulated fishing landed five to six times more than the regulated fishery and allegedly illegal fishing in antarctic waters in 1998 resulted in the seizure (by France and Australia) of at least eight fishing ships. Companies interested in commercial fishing activities in Antarctica have put forward proposals. The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources determines the recommended catch limits for marine species. A total of 13,193 tourists visited in the 1999-2000 summer up from the 10,013 who visited the previous year. Nearly all of them were passengers on 24 commercial (nongovernmental) ships and several yachts that made 143 trips during the summer. Most tourist trips lasted approximately two weeks.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products


Industrial production growth rate

Labor force
Labor force

Unemployment rate

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index


Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance



Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates

Antarctica - Energy 2001
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Antarctica - Communication 2001
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system
General assessment: NA
Domestic: NA
International: NA

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .aq

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Antarctica - Military 2001
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Antarctica - Transportation 2001
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Note: 27 stations, operated by 16 national governments party to the Antarctic Treaty, have aircraft landing facilities for either helicopters and/or fixed-wing aircraft; commercial enterprises operate two additional aircraft landing facilities; helicopter pads are available at 27 stations; runways at 15 locations are gravel, sea-ice, blue-ice, or compacted snow suitable for landing wheeled, fixed-wing aircraft; of these, 1 is greater than 3 km in length, 6 are between 2 km and 3 km in length, 3 are between 1 km and 2 km in length, 3 are less than 1 km in length, and 2 are of unknown length; snow surface skiways, limited to use by ski-equipped, fixed-wing aircraft, are available at another 15 locations; of these, 4 are greater than 3 km in length, 3 are between 2 km and 3 km in length, 2 are between 1 km and 2 km in length, 2 are less than 1 km in length, and 4 are of unknown length; aircraft landing facilities generally subject to severe restrictions and limitations resulting from extreme seasonal and geographic conditions; aircraft landing facilities do not meet ICAO standards; advance approval from the respective governmental or nongovernmental operating organization required for landing (2001 est.)

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways

Heliports: 27 stations have helicopter landing facilities (helipads) (2001)





Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Antarctica - Transnational issues 2001
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Undercover Tourist

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