If you are interested in knowing much more about the Antarctic Circle, in this article we are going to tell you. Read on to get to know the Antarctic Circle much better.
Antarctic Circle: definition
The Antarctic Circle is not something that can be visited physically, since it is an imaginary line that is drawn around the earth. This line is located approximately at 66.5 degrees south latitude and serves to mark the southernmost limit at which the sun can be visible for at least one full day at the winter solstice.
In the same way, it also occurs on the summer solstice that the sun is hidden for at least one full day. In essence, the Arctic Circle would be one more imaginary line joining those of the Tropics and the Equator.
On the other hand, this line of the Arctic Circle also acts as a border. The Arctic Circle marks the southern border of the Antarctic continent itself and, really, it is a reference of the most important through which the polar and subpolar regions can be defined.
Crossing the Arctic Circle means starting to enjoy really unusual natural situations and phenomena. In addition to entering regions that are further away from humans, phenomena such as the midnight sun in the summer or the polar night in winter are experienced.
The Arctic Circle is also a reference through which latitudes within the Southern Hemisphere are measured.
Which countries are within the Antarctic Circle?
The Antarctic Circle line crosses Antarctic waters and territories. This means that, legally, it does not pass through any country. This is because Antarctica does not belong to anyone even though there are some countries that have claimed territories in it.
Some of the countries that have claimed Antarctic territory would be Australia, Chile, France, United Kingdom, New Zealand or Norway. Despite these claims by the countries, it is the Antarctic Treaty that is responsible for regulating everything concerning Antarctica.
Because Antarctica is considered a territory over which no sovereignty can exist, it is logical to state that no country is located within this Antarctic Circle.
Antarctic Circle map
As we mentioned earlier, to place the Antarctic Circle on the map you have to draw an imaginary line at latitude 66.5 degrees south. If we look at it on the map, you will see that this line runs mainly through waters and territories of Antarctica, so you will not find any country that is in it.
What is the average temperature in the Antarctic Circle?
As you can imagine, the Antarctic Circle is one of the coldest parts of the planet. This is due to the proximity to the poles and also to the influence of the Antarctic ice mass.
On the other hand, the average temperature of this area will also vary depending on the season of the year. In this way, we find temperatures that oscillate between -40º and – 60º Celsius during the winter (from June to August) and between -20ºC and -10ºC in summer (from December to February).
Remember that we are talking about average temperatures, so it is quite common that, on certain days of the year, temperatures are much lower. On the other hand, there are also other conditions such as strong winds that can make the thermal sensation seem to be much colder.
Who discovered the Antarctic Circle?
As it is not a typical region, it is not appropriate to ask about the discovery of the Antarctic Circle. It is not a region that can be discovered through the use of exploration, nor has it been discovered by a single person. The discovery of the Antarctic Circle responds to the different expeditions that have been carried out over the centuries.
The concept of the Antarctic Circle is due to the inclination in the axis of our planet and its relationship with the sun. The idea of polar circles, both Arctic and Antarctic, has been held since ancient times and has been developed as we have learned more about our planet.
For this reason, although it is not really a discovery such as a continent or an island, it has certainly had great importance all the discoveries carried out for years.
Since ancient times there have been many observers who noticed that, during the summer solstice at a certain latitude, The sun reached its highest point in the sky and this could be seen during the 24 hours a day, let’s remember the strange phenomena we have talked about about the Antarctic Circle.
The process was completely reversed during the winter solstice, the sun was hidden on the horizon for more than 24 hours. These discoveries were the basis for establishing these imaginary lines known as the Polar Circles.
We can conclude that the creation of these Polar Circles is due to advances in exploration and astronomy over the years.
What fauna can we find in the Antarctic Circle?
Without a doubt, one of the most interesting aspects that we can find in the Antarctic Circle is its fauna. Being a historical region, without comparison in other places on the planet, the Antarctic Circle has a very particular fauna.
The most emblematic are its penguins. Along the Antarctic Circle live a large number of different penguin species. Some of the most common species that you can find are the emperor penguin, the Adélia, the Chinstrap or the rockhopper.
Another of the most common species are seals. Among the species of seals that can be found in the Antarctic Circle are the Weddell seals, the leopard and the Antarctic crab.
One of the largest mammals in the world also has its presence in the Antarctic Circle, it is whales. The Antarctic Circle is home to many species of migrating whales, for example, the humpback whale, the blue whale, the southern right whale or the Antarctic minke. These whales usually migrate to Antarctica in search of food, since it is a region quite rich in food for these animals.
Not everything lives in the sea in the Antarctic Circle, so you can also spot a lot of seabirds. Some of the most emblematic birds of this place are the Antarctic petrel, the cook gull, the wandering albatross or the Antarctic shearwater.
We ended up highlighting Antarctic krill. This animal, difficult to see with the naked eye by humans, is one of the key species within the Antarctic Circle. This is because it serves as food for the vast majority of the animals we have mentioned above, which is why whales among others seek food in this area.