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2 definitions found
 for Antarctica
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: an extremely cold continent at the south pole almost
           entirely below the Antarctic Circle; covered by an ice cap
           up to 13,000 feet deep; "Antarctica is twice the size of
           Australia" [syn: Antarctica, Antarctic continent]

From CIA World Factbook 2002 :

     Introduction Antarctica
                              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
                                          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 just a group of
                                          islands. Several exploration
                                          "firsts" were achieved in the early
                                          20th century. 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.
     Geography Antarctica
                                Location: continent mostly south of the
                                          Antarctic Circle
                  Geographic coordinates: 90 00 S, 0 00 E
                          Map references: Antarctic Region
                                    Area: total: 14 million sq km
                                          note: fifth-largest continent,
                                          following Asia, Africa, North
                                          America, and South America, but
                                          larger than Australia and the
                                          subcontinent of Europe
                                          land: 14 million sq km (280,000 sq
                                          km ice-free, 13.72 million sq km
                                          ice-covered) (est.)
                      Area - comparative: slightly less than 1.5 times the
                                          size of the US
                         Land boundaries: 0 km
                                          note: see entry on International
                               Coastline: 17,968 km
                         Maritime claims: none; 20 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 2,000 and
                                          4,000 meters; mountain ranges up to
                                          nearly 5,000 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
                      Elevation extremes: lowest point: Bentley Subglacial
                                          Trench -2,555 m
                                          highest point: Vinson Massif 4,897 m
                                          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 seawater
                       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
                                Land use: arable land: 0%
                                          permanent crops: 0%
                                          other: 100% (ice 98%, barren rock
                                          2%) (1998 est.)
                          Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1998 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
            Environment - 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; in 2002,
                                          significant areas of ice shelves
                                          disintegrated in response to
                                          regional warming
                        Geography - 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
     People Antarctica
                              Population: no indigenous inhabitants, but there
                                          are seasonally staffed research
                                          note: approximately 27 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 2002 est.)
                  Population growth rate: NA
     Government Antarctica
                            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 24th Antarctic
                                          Treaty Consultative Meeting was held
                                          in Russia in July 2001. At the end
                                          of 2001, there were 45 treaty member
                                          nations: 27 consultative and 18 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), Estonia (2001),
                                          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
                            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 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 5801, Department
                                          of State, Washington, DC 20520,
                                          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
                                          22230; telephone: (703) 292-8030, or
                                          visit their website at www.nsf.gov.
     Economy Antarctica
                      Economy - overview: Fishing off the coast and tourism,
                                          both based abroad, account for the
                                          limited economic activity. Antarctic
                                          fisheries in 2000-01 (1 July-30
                                          June) reported landing 112,934
                                          metric tons. Unregulated fishing
                                          probably landed more fish 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. The Convention
                                          on the Conservation of Antarctic
                                          Marine Living Resources determines
                                          the recommended catch limits for
                                          marine species. A total of 12,248
                                          tourists visited in the 2000-01
                                          antarctic summer, down from the
                                          14,762 who visited the previous
                                          year. Nearly all of them were
                                          passengers on 21 commercial
                                          (nongovernmental) ships and several
                                          yachts that made trips during the
                                          summer. Most tourist trips lasted
                                          approximately two weeks.
     Communications Antarctica
          Telephones - main lines in use: 0
                                          note: information for US bases only
            Telephones - mobile cellular: NA; Iridium system in use
                        Telephone system: general assessment: local systems at
                                          some research stations
                                          domestic: NA
                                          international: via satellite from
                                          some research stations
                Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM 2, shortwave 1
                                          note: information for US bases only
                                  Radios: NA
           Television broadcast stations: 1 (cable system with six channels;
                                          American Forces Antarctic Network-
                                          note: information for US bases only
                             Televisions: several hundred at McMurdo Station
                                          note: information for US bases only
                   Internet country code: .aq
       Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA
     Transportation Antarctica
                       Ports and harbors: there are no developed ports and
                                          harbors in Antarctica; most coastal
                                          stations have offshore anchorages,
                                          and supplies are transferred from
                                          ship to shore by small boats,
                                          barges, and helicopters; a few
                                          stations have a basic wharf
                                          facility; US coastal stations
                                          include McMurdo (77 51 S, 166 40 E),
                                          Palmer (64 43 S, 64 03 W);
                                          government use only except by permit
                                          (see Permit Office under "Legal
                                          System"); all ships at port are
                                          subject to inspection in accordance
                                          with Article 7, Antarctic Treaty;
                                          offshore anchorage is sparse and
                                Airports: 30 (2001)
                                          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;
                                          landed aircraft are subject to
                                          inspection in accordance with
                                          Article 7, Antarctic Treaty
         Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 19
                                          over 3,047 m: 6
                                          2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
                                          914 to 1,523 m: 4
                                          under 914 m: 5 (2001)
                                          1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
                               Heliports: 27 stations have helicopter landing
                                          facilities (helipads) (2001)
     Military Antarctica
                         Military - note: 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
     Transnational Issues Antarctica
                Disputes - international: Antarctic Treaty freezes claims (see
                                          Antarctic Treaty Summary in
                                          Government type entry); sections
                                          (some overlapping) claimed by
                                          Argentina, Australia, Chile, France,
                                          NZ, Norway, and UK; the US and most
                                          other states do not recognize the
                                          territorial claims of other states
                                          and have made no claims themselves
                                          (the US and Russia reserve the right
                                          to do so); no claims have been made
                                          in the sector between 90 degrees
                                          west and 150 degrees west; several
                                          states with land claims in
                                          Antarctica have expressed their
                                          intention to submit data to the UN
                                          Commission on the Limits of the
                                          Continental Shelf to extend their
                                          continental shelf claims to
                                          adjoining undersea ridges

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