The continent is also being heavily affected by global warming as the glaciers,
ice, and snow on Antarctica have been slowly melting into the ocean. This is affecting
not only Antarctica and the wildlife present on and around the island, but also
the entire world as water levels are slowly on the rise.
Although Antarctica is changing in many ways, this continent has done little to
alter itself as the island is nearly isolated. The continent is, and always has
been dominated by the wildlife on the island as well as in the nearby seas. Many
animals found here can be found nowhere else in the world or are rarely found elsewhere,
while many of the birds and sea life seasonally migrate.
The culture of the continent is lacking as few people live on Antarctica and most
who do are seasonal scientists from numerous countries. These people continue on
their traditional cultures from their home countries, but the lifestyle in Antarctica
is vastly different than it is elsewhere. Freezing temperatures and winds mean most
time is spent in doors. The sun also affects the lifestyle as the continent experiences
24 hours of daylight during their summers and 24 hours of darkness during their
winters. For most visitors to Antarctica today, the trip begins and ends on a cruise
ship during these long summer months when visitors can disembark to the land to
see penguins or glaciers before continuing on their journey.
Independence: Antarctic Treaty signed December 1, 1959 (in force June 23, 1961)
Population: About 1,100 (winter) to 4,400 (summer)