Why Is Antarctica Called The White Continent?

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Why Is Antarctica Called The White Continent?

Antarctica a place featured in popular Hollywood films like Eight Below, Happy Feet and the recent release in 2009 Whiteout. Antarctica as a continent is a place you would want to explore and discover with its physical features. But why is as well called the white continent?

True to its other name, white continent, it’s truly as white as snow. Antarctica situated in the southernmost pole, is a vast continent in far south. Basically the continent is characterized by ice formations as it has 98% area covered with snow and ice. The surface has an ice sheet with an average thickness of 2450m and covers a wide area for about 15.89kmÃ’šÃ‚² but changes depending on the climate or season. During the winter season, the size of Antarctica doubles as the surrounding sea water is as well frozen. The thickest ice is found in Wilkes Land with a depth of 15, 669 feet.

The climate conditions in this continent doesn’t allow human and plant forms to survive all throughout the year. Only cold-adapted organisms can survive but in meager quantity. During winter months where snow and ice is thick and temperature is at its coldest, temporary inhabitants leave the continent. Also in winter, the unique phenomenon is experienced in Antarctica called whiteout. Whiteout is a condition wherein there is no contrast between objects and no shadows are visible. It is a result when the uniformly grey or white sky covers the snow. If you have seen the movie entitled Whiteout, because it was all white and no contrasts, their perception of depth was affected in which they had to tie themselves on a rope as they transfer from one area to the next.

Antarctica is called the White Continent simply because it’s the only continent that’s frozen all year round. Only about 0.5% in Antarctica’s surface area is not covered with ice. Therefore, with a permanent snow cover, it’s evidently white.

Author: maureen

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