Antarctica

Where can I find information about Antarctica?

Entry last updated: 24/04/20

Introduction

Antarctica is mostly a frozen continent located at the South Pole. In this article we'll look at what makes Antarctica and the animals and plants that survive there so special. We'll also look at the history of human life, from early explorers to the people who work here today and the challenges Antarctica faces from climate change.

Arctic and Antarctic

It is easy to get confused between the Arctic and the Antarctic, or Antarctica as we usually call it in New Zealand. In this section we'll look at the differences between the two continents.

Polar Discovery

This site has information about the Polar regions, the Arctic which is around the North Pole, and Antarctica around the South Pole. It has a great section that lets you compare these two regions.

  • Select the Compare the Poles tab near the top of the page.
  • Then select from the links on the left to compare weather, seasons, plants and wildlife or any of those listed to read how different these two continents are.
Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .govt or .edu in their address. To assess how reliable it is, check the About us link on the website. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are .

Plant and animal life

When you think of Antarctica you might imagine lots of snow and penguins. However Antarctica is also home to lots of other wonderful animals and plants.

Britannica School

Britannica School is part of EPIC, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

  • Enter the search word 'Antarctica' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • Go to Antarctica (continent) and select Plant and Animal life from the column on the left.
  • You will read that there are also seals, dolphins and whales that live in this region.
  • Remember to explore the link to Images & Videos from the top of the page.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Wonderopolis

Created by the National Centre for Families in America, Wonderopolis has become a popular education site for inquiry learning.

  • Enter the keyword 'Antarctica' into the search box.
  • Find the link What is an Emperor Penguim?
  • This page has some fun facts and videos of chicks living in a penguin colony in the Antarctic.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [Antarctica]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

A-Z Animals

A-Z of Animals was developed in 2008 as a resource for animal facts and information for all ages. All content is approved before being published.

  • Select Pictures to find facts about animals in Antarctica, then select the tab Location.
  • Next scroll down the page to Antarctica to read about the different animals and variety of penguins found here.
Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

Climate change

Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth. In this section, we'll look at what kind of impact climate change and other pressures could have on Antarctica's amazing ecosystem.

Discovering Antarctica

This is a website run by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Royal Geographical Society and the British Antarctic Territory (British controlled section of Antarctica).

  • Scroll down the page to the section on topics and select Challenges to read about climate change and other threats of the future.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Cool Antarctica

This website is the work of a teacher called Paul Ward, who put this website together after spending 2 years in Antarctica. The site is about his experience along with many other interesting facts about this continent.

  • Go to the tab Antarctica Facts, then look under Environment to find Climate Change.
  • This page has the Effects of Global warming on Antarctica, along with links to other human impacts such as tourism, mining, fishing, pollution and more.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Discovery and exploration

In this section we'll look at the early history of people in Antarctica. Who were the first people to travel or explore this region and what was it like for them?

NZHistory

NZHistory is a great website for information about Aotearoa New Zealand. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well researched and reliable.

  • Use search words like 'Antarctica exploration' to find articles and images of exploration and explorers.
  • Select Introduction to read about New Zealand's history of Antarctica and explorers like Tuati, Frank Worsley and Sir Edmund Hillary.

Antarctic Heritage Trust

This site is owned by a New Zealand Trust which looks after the expedition bases of Antarctic explorers like Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary.

  • Select Conserve to explore fantastic photos of the explorer's bases as they look today as well as information about the people who originally used them and their missions on the ice.
  • Select Encourage to find the link Inspiring Explorers. This is about historic and current explorers and their expeditions.

New Zealand Geographic Archive

This EPIC resource database has fantastic photos and articles about New Zealand history, science and geography. It includes photos and stories about the Antarctic including early Antarctic explorers.

  • Search for 'Douglas Mawson' to find the article To Hell (and back) about his 1911 expedition.
  • Search for 'James Clark Ross' to find the article In the Wake of Ross about his 1841 voyage.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Ownership and the Antarctic Treaty

Aotearoa New Zealand has always had a keen interest in the frozen continent. Since 1957, Scott Base on Ross Island has served as our base camp there, but New Zealand does not own Antarctica, it is governed by a special Antarctic treaty. In this section, we'll look at what countries have bases or territories in Antarctica and how the continent is ruled.

Antarctica New Zealand

Antarctica New Zealand is about New Zealand's responsibilities to protect the environment and flora and fauna of Antarctica.

  • Go to Menu and select Environment from the window that opens up.
  • Scroll down the page to the Antarctic Treaty

Department of Conservation (DOC)

The Department of Conservation (DOC for short) is the government website about preserving the natural and historical sites of New Zealand.

  • Go to the About us link from the top of the page, then go to International agreements.
  • You will find at the top of the page a link to the Antarctica Treaty System that covers how the Antarctic will be protected.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Books

There are lots of books written about Antarctica. Check out your school library or local public library to see what they have.

SCIS no: 1888735

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