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PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY – 4b Cold Environments

A large area of our globe could be classified as having a cold environment. Cold environments cover over 25% of the World’s land surface and are incredibly varied in their nature.

The air on areas of high altitude such as mountain tops is very thin or sparse and therefore has a reduced capacity to hold warmth.

The areas around the North and South Poles receive limited sunlight and are therefore cold environments.

An example of an area of a cold environment is found around the South Pole. This area is called Antarctica and is very large. Large enough to be classed as a continent.

Antarctica is a frozen, windswept continent, so hostile and remote that it has no permanent inhabitants.

The continent is surrounded by the Southern Ocean, and is the 5th largest continent. It is nearly twice the size of Australia! About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, so is a perfect cold environment to study.

On average it is the coldest, driest and windiest of all the continents. It is a desert (albeit a very cold one!) as it receives less than 30cms of rainfall a year. Scientists live on Antarctica, but there are no permanent human residents.

Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, and certain animals, such as mites, penguins seals and tardigrades.

When learning about cold environments and Antarctica there are some key words which will help you to show your understanding. Ensure that you know what there key words mean:

  • ​​​​​​​Weather
  • Climate
  • Food chain
  • ​​​​​​​Glacier

Antarctica – A Future in the Balance

Follow these hyperlinks to learn more:-

  1. British Antarctic Survey
  2. Cool Antarctica
  3. NASA’s site about Antarctica

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