Antarctica is the world's southernmost continent. It is also the coldest and driest place on earth. It contains approximately 90% of the world's total ice. If this was to melt it the world's oceans would rise by over 50 metres. Antarctica is also much colder than the Arctic, with an average annual temperature of -50C. Because it is so cold there is very little rain making Antarctica the world's largest desert.
Polar regions: human impacts by Dana Desonie, Chelsea House, 2008.
You can find the South Pole on a map at 90 degrees south, and it is only a very special band of explorers who will ever get there. Early in the 20th century a group of explorers from all around the world - Britain, Norway, and Australia - risked their lives to penetrate as far as they could in this harsh, cold world.
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