Antarctica Worksheets

What Exactly Is Antarctica?

Antarctica is the world's fifth-largest continent and covers the South Pole. It is a continent that has just 2 seasons; it has 6 months of complete darkness in winter and 6 months full sunlight in summer.

Is Antarctica a desert?

Yes, it is a desert because it never rains or snows there, making it the largest desert in the world. The continent receives little precipitation and rain. Whenever it rains, it gets converted into more ice covering the ice sheets of Antarctica. More than 90% of Earth's freshwater is frozen in specific space of land. The only regions tolerable for life are the coastal areas, where penguins, seals, and other animals live.

Physical Geography

Antarctica's ice sheet is one of Earth's two polar caps. The ice sheet is formed by snow, accumulated over thousands of years, and flattened into ice. Sometimes, large chunks of ice break away from the mainland and drift into the sea. They are known as icebergs. The Antarctic ice sheet grows in size in winter. The Transantarctic Mountains divide the continent into East and West sections.

Who lives in Antarctica?

The answer is no one. Antarctica doesn't have a native population of humans. The only people who ever go and live there fall into 2 categories - scientists who are carrying out research tasks and tourists.

The Antarctic Treaty governs the tourism and wildlife in Antarctica. Some people go to Antarctica to find jobs, ranging from doctors to chefs, mechanics, etc. 46 countries have signed the Antarctic Treaty. If you're a citizen of one of these countries, you need permission to visit Antarctica. There is no need for a visa since no country owns particular piece of land.


There are no terrestrial animals in Antarctica. However, there are a lot of marine birds and animals and 18 species of penguins.

- Emperor penguin: These are the largest penguin species and live in colonies near the coastlines. Emperor penguins live on sea ice, a piece of sea frozen to ice in winter but melts and shrinks in summer. Penguins originated in Australia, but researchers suggest that they were driven to Antarctica by the abundance of food there. Penguins live in large colonies, sometimes with approximately 20,000 pairs in them. Scientists use satellites to detect their colonies. Penguins usually feed on fish, squids, and krill.

- Seals and sea lions: There are small groups of seals and sea lions living in this area of the world. They are marine mammals, and their hands have evolved into flippers. They have a thick layer of fat under the skin to provide insulation. They eat fish, squids, or krill. Seals are well adapted to the cold weather with their thick fur and sometimes have to plunge into cold water to cool their bodies down.

- Antarctic blue whales: The largest animal known on Earth, blue whales migrate to Antarctica in the warmer summer season to benefit from the abundance of krill and squids in the water, an important food source. However, whales never breed in Antarctica.


Antarctica has two seasons; summer and winter.

Summer lasts from October to February. The days start getting longer as Summer approaches until the sun is almost always in the sky and never sets, a phenomenon called the "Midnight Sun." It is common in the Northern Hemisphere, but in the South Pole is only experienced in Antarctica.

The winter lasts from March to October, and the temperature can drop to -60°C. The whole of Antarctica is plunged into darkness, and scientists or other people there avoid traveling during this season.

Climate Change

The effect of global warming is quite evident with the rising temperatures of Antarctica. Melting glaciers is collapsing, the number of krill in water has been reduced due to lesser ice cover, and the colonies of penguins are changing their areas of inhabitation as the temperature fluctuates in the region. Scientists are worried that if all the water stored in the form of ice in Antarctica starts to melt, it will increase the sea level of the whole world, which may cause flooding of beaches worldwide. They believe that if all the ice in Antarctica melts, it will cover all coastal areas of the world with the ocean, and the land area would shrink.

Antarctic Glaciers

Glaciers, also called rivers of ice, are large masses of ice that move very slowly under the influence of gravity. Glaciers are formed after snow accumulates and compresses on land over thousands of years. Glaciers can be valley glaciers or continental glaciers. The Antarctic ice sheet is a glacier itself.

Glaciers in Antarctica are subject to global warming as they rapidly melt due to industrial emissions and the greenhouse effect. It is also believed that warm water is seeping under the glaciers, causing them to melt from the bottom. If all the glaciers in the world melted, the sea level would rise about 70%, and all the coastal areas will be underwater.

Interesting facts about Antarctica

- The bodies ice sheet holds 70% of the total fresh water in the world.

- There are more than 130 volcanoes in Antarctica and some of them completely covered with ice sheets.

- It has its special kind of wind called katabatic, also called gravity winds or downslope winds. It is caused by gravity pulling higher density cold air downslope.

- The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest solid block of ice on Earth.

- Lake Vostok is a subglacial lake that hasn't been touched by light or wind for 20 million years. Scientists hope that it will provide them with proof of life beyond Earth.

- Ancient Antarctica used to be as warm as Melbourne or the coasts of California.

- The dry valleys of Antarctica are the driest place on Earth. There is no humidity and no rain or snow on them.

With no native population, no vegetation, no terrestrial animals, and just two seasons, Antarctica is an intriguing continent. It’s the coldest place on the planet, composed entirely of ice, and yet categorized as a desert. The earth is truly a diverse marvel when it comes to the various land and water bodies that make it.