Sunday, September 5, 2010
- The Arctic contains the North Pole. It is the area north of the Arctic Circle (66º 33’ north latitude). The Antarctic is the region around the South Pole, up to the Antarctic Circle (66º 33’ south).
- The Arctic consists of an ocean surrounded by land, including parts of Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Greenland, Russia, and the United States. By contrast, the Antarctic comprises a continent, (Antarctica), surrounded by ocean.
- Antarctica is the highest continent in the world. This increased elevation makes it much colder and windier than the Arctic.
- The Arctic tundra supports a more diverse range of animals, including polar bears, caribou, muskoxen, wolves, foxes, ermines, hares, and walruses. Penguins make their home in Antarctica. Seals, whales, fish, and birds can be found in both areas.
- Sea ice remains in the Arctic longer than in the Antarctic, making Arctic sea ice thicker on the whole. The continent of Antarctica, however, contains about 90% of the world’s ice.
- While there are a number of sizable cities north of the Arctic Circle, the only permanent human settlements in Antarctica are research stations.
- People have known of the Arctic since prehistoric times, but Antarctica was discovered in 1820.