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Hidden Mystery in the Ice Continent

Dear Julia Xiao,

In your article, you told us that scientists are searching for the oldest ice in Antarctica. It’s even predicted that there is a five million-year-old ice yet to be found.

Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. The reason that it’s freezing cold is that the land’s specific heat is higher than the sea’s, which means the temperature changes faster on land. Normally in the polar regions, the sea can regulate the cold. The north pole is only made of huge icebergs floating on the sea, whereas Antarctica is a large land with ice covering all over it. So obviously, Antarctica would be colder without the sea. Also, Antarctica is the highest continent on Earth, with an average height of 2500m, making the temperature even colder.

As you wrote in the article, the ice in Antarctica can be millions of years old. So by studying it, scientists can find clues about the environments of the past. However, as I searched for more information about Antarctica, I found that as people uncover the mask of this icy giant, there are problems deriving, too.

First, the problem of overfishing is extended to Antarctica. Right now, the blue whales have been over-hunted so much that the population is only 2%~5% of the pre-whaling numbers. Second, foriegn organisms are brought to Antarctica by people. Due to global warming, some of them are able to survive there, endangering the native species. The rats are especially concerned, as they not only have strong adaptations, they can be harmful to the ground nesting birds. Other problems included tourism, climate change, and pollution. Antarctica is having a hard time while people are exploring it excitedly. Humans are curious about our surroundings, and it’s a good thing, only that we need to consider the impact after our actions.

Thank you for writing this article, it aroused my curiosity of Antarctica, and I really gained a lot.

Sincerely, Ya Han Hsu


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