Great short movie:
Apollo 17 30th Anniversary: Antarctica Zoom-out
"...Antarctica is a continent of contradictions: volcanoes erupting from a frozen landscape; miles of snow and ice, yet hardly any snow falls each year; an arid land surrounded by three oceans.
A layer of ice up to two miles thick covers a continent as big as the United States and Mexico combined.
Antarctic ice contains 70% of the world's fresh water (90% of the world's ice). If it were divided up, every person on Earth could have a chunk of ice larger than the Great Pyramid. Although 98% of
Antarctica is ice, there is land underneath the ice cover, unlike the Arctic where the ice floats on top of the ocean.
The average temperature on the Antarctic continent is -490C. The lowest temperature ever recorded anywhere on Earth was measured here at -128.60F
(-890C.). Water temperature averages a comparatively balmy 33oF.
Salt water temperature will drop to about 280F before it freezes.
Because of the frigid air temperatures, rain rarely falls here. It rarely snows either; the South Pole gets less than 6 inches of snow a year!
For six months every year, the sun shines 24 hours a day at the South Pole. But don't expect it to warm you up much. Winds reach up to 200 mph along the coast. During the dark six months of the year, the Antarctic winter (our summer), the South Pole station
has a population of 28 people who can't leave. For seven months, from early February until a plane flies in mid-winter with supplies, their only link to the outside world is via the Internet, phone, and radio. ..."
"...One of the least understood areas is the West Antarctic ice sheet and its potential for breaking up into giant icebergs. In one scenario, if global warming results in even a small rise in sea level, warmer water could flow under the West Antarctic ice sheet
and break off ice chunks the size of New England. These ice chunks, which now sit on land, could raise sea level an estimated 18 feet worldwide, flooding coastal cities like Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. Most scientists now think this scenario
is unlikely to occur, and if it did, it would take centuries to happen. Some scientists say that increased moisture from global warming could turn to snow in the Antarctic. This could actually contribute to a fall in sea level as the Antarctic locks up the
moisture as ice. Most scientists caution that it is very hard to predict what will actually happen.
Why won't the floating ice caps melting in the North Pole/Arctic Ocean affect sea level? (Because this floating ice is already displacing its own volume in water.) Only the ice that breaks off or melts from land, i.e. the Greenland ice sheet, Antarctic ice
sheet, and mountain glaciers can raise sea level."