Antarctica is recognized for being the highest, driest, coldest and windiest continent ~ above earth. So maybe it i will not ~ come together a surprise to hear that Antarctica is also the just continent there is no an indigenous human being population. Due to its remoteness, inhospitable weather conditions and lack of natural land bridges connecting the to other continents, Antarctica has spent the last 35 million years in loved one silence and also seclusion. Before its discovery in 1820, no humans had ever set eyes top top this icy continent. But do people live in Antarctica now?

Although there space no aboriginal Antarcticans and also no permanent occupants or citizens of Antarctica, many human being do live in Antarctica every year. It’s estimated that there are up come 5,000 scientists and also researchers life in Antarctica in ~ the elevation of summer (October-April), along with some 45,000 Antarctic tourists visiting on exploration cruise ships. In winter, the number fall to approximately 1,000 scientific staff only.

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Who resides in Antarctica?

There are approximately 66 scientific stations scattered across Antarctica, all of which serve as nationwide research bases. These little settlements support populaces of differing sizes, from as many as 1,300 come as couple of as six.

The bulk of scientists and also support employee living in Antarctica remain for short term contracts of 3-6 months, although some stay for as lengthy as 15 months (two summers and also one winter). It offered to be quite usual for researcher to stay in Antarctica for 3 summers and two winters, although that’s not common practice nowadays.

Transport to and also from clinical stations is only feasible during summer, as the winter brings widespread sea ice, high winds and poor visibility, making travel a extremely risky prospect. Just under half of the Antarctic scientific stations close down over the cold, harsh winter, if the rest run year-round. Brr!

In enhancement to scientists and also researchers, some Antarctic guides spend plenty of months living in or near Antarctica. Expedition guides, mountaineering guides and also deep field guides all clock up significant time on Antarctica’s shores, islands and mountains. If they can’t necessarily contact themselves Antarcticans, due to the fact that Antarctica isn’t a country, castle no doubt feeling a feeling of kinship through the white continent.

How do world live in Antarctica?

Antarctic scientific stations are remote, self-sustaining outposts made up of sturdy buildings and transport choices to support scientific research, logistical operations and also the day-to-day lives of the civilization who live there.

Depending top top the size of the terminal there might be chaos halls, clinical facilities, education institutions and also even greenhouses! Most also have dorm-style accommodation and communal areas for entertainment and group activities.

It deserve to be for this reason cold the you can not step external without donning all your layers, ideal down come insulated boots, hefty waterproof jacket and also thick overpants. Moving in between buildings deserve to be a difficulty in unstable weather, and also in high-wind or white-out conditions, visibility deserve to be therefore low that no one is permitted to go exterior at all!

But life on a clinical base can also be fun, with inter-station dart tournaments and also short film competitions, polar plunges, oversnow rides ~ above quad bikes and occasionally, if you lucky, a cruise along the beautiful coast in a Zodiac.

Antarctic scientific bases are bound by the Antarctic Treaty and the Madrid Protocol, i m sorry designates Antarctica as a natural reserve, specialized to peace and also science. All tasks in Antarctica are subject to eco-friendly assessment, and station staff are responsible because that ensuring that protection of the Antarctic setting is constantly prioritised.

So what go live in Antarctica?

Antarctica’s sub-zero temperatures aren’t only unwelcoming to humans, but most other mammals together well. When penguins, seals and also whales are the ideal known citizens of Antarctica, they room seabirds and marine mammals. While castle spend much of their time on the ice, they rely on the sea for sustenance, so they are not true continent inhabitants.

The soil of Antarctica belongs to tiny forests of moss, lichen and liverworts, and the microscopic organisms the live in ~ them. These encompass springtails, nematodes, midges and also the incredibly sturdy tardigrades. This hardy creatures deserve to withstand the extremes of temperature and also high winds that deter all however the many sturdy of species!

If you’re interested in learning much more about Antarctica or see for yourself what it’s all about, contact our expedition experts today.

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words by Nina Gallo, Aurora Expeditions’ historian and also certified PTGA polar guide.

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Nina has actually been drawn to the polar regions since her very first otherworldly endure of the midnight sun in 2002. Due to the fact that then she has spent time in far northern Canada, the Himalayas, the Alps and deserts in America and also Australia, always seeking out quiet, wild corners to explore. She feels immensely privileged to take trip to these places and shares her passions because that the natural world, human stories and adventure v all the wonderful human being she meets. Nina is the author of Antarctica, published by Australian geographic in September 2020.