Quick Antarctic Statistics

Area

13,829,430 km2 | 5,339,543 miles2

1.4x bigger than the USA
58x bigger than the UK
1.8x bigger than Australia

Ice-free area
(0.32% of total)

44,890 km2 | 17,330 miles2

Population

About 4,000 on scientific bases in the short summer 1,000 total in winter, around 30,000-40,000 summer tourists – and this place is 1.4 x bigger than the USA!
There are NO permanent residents and NEVER has been a native population

Population density = 0.00007 winter / 0.00028 summer per km2
World average = 54
Greenland (next lowest) = 0.03

Largest Ice Shelves

Ross ice shelf:
(about the size of France)
510,680 km2 | 197,974 miles2

Ronne-Filchner ice shelf:
(about the size of Spain)
439,920 km2 | 169,850 miles2

Temperature:

Lowest recoded on earth
Vostok station -89.2°C / -128.6°F

Average summer temperature at South Pole
-27.5°C / -17.5°F

Average winter temperature at South Pole
-60°C / -76°F

Climate

3 factors rule in Antarctica
– cold, wind and altitude. 

Antarctica holds the world record for each of these three things.
The temperature falls as you leave the coast as the continent slopes upwards and temperature falls as you go higher.

Mountains

Transantarctic Mountain chain, length:
3,300 km | 2,050 miles

Highest 3 mountains:
Mt. Vinson
(sometimes called “Vinson Massif”)
4,892 m | 16,050 ft
Mt. Tyree
4,852 m | 15,918 ft
Mt. Shinn
4,661 m | 15,292 ft

Wind:

Mawson station in Antarctica is the windiest place on earth.
Average wind speed:
37 kmh / 23 mph

Maximum recorded gust:
248.4 kmh / 154 mph

Landforms

Antarctica has many land forms

  • Glacier
  • Desert
  • Mountain
  • Plain
  • Plateau
  • Valley
  • Nunatak

Ice

Antarctica has 70% of all the world’s freshwater frozen as ice – and 90% of all the world’s ice.

THICKNESS
Mean: 1,829 m / 6,000 ft
Mean Thickness East Antarctica: 2,226 m / 7,300 ft
Mean thickness West Antarctica: 1,306 m / 4,285 ft
Maximum ice thickness: 4,776 m / 15,670ft
Lowest point: 2,496 m / 8,188 ft
Bentley subglacial trench, depth below sea-level

Discovery and Exploration

Antarctica was imagined by the ancient Greeks, but not even seen until 1820.

The first time anyone set foot on Antarctica was in 1821.

The first year-round occupation – overwintering – was in 1898.

The South Pole was first reached in 1911.