Issues in Cold Environments - Case Study

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- Antarctica is the largest wilderness area on the earth - larger than Europe
- 90% of all the ice on earth & 70% fresh water supplies
- Two largest ice shelves are Ross shelf and Ronne shelf & several islands e.g. Elephant Island

Fragile Ecosystem

- Very little water available - Inland gets 166mm of precipitation per year (most is frozen) as little as a desert
- Average temperature is -49c 
- Very little sunlight in winter - sun doesn't rise for several months because of the earths tilt
- Therefore very few plants and animals can survive there - specially adapted 
- Penguins, albatross, mosses and lichens
- Fragile environment due to lack of water, warmth and sunlight - takes a while to recover from damage
- Abundant sealife e.g. fish, seals and whales
- Sea ecosystem is also fragile - if one species decreases, it affects others in the food chain

Valuable Resources

- 300 species of fish, 8 species of whale in the seas around (Weddell and Ross)
- Very attractive scenery 
- Large undergound deposits of coal and iron ore


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