The Weddell Sea is one of the most famous seas found in the Southern Ocean. In this article you will be able to find everything you need to know about the Weddell Sea. In addition to its location, you will also get to know better the fauna that is found within this sea and some of its most interesting aspects.
The Weddell Sea is known mainly for the beauty it has and also its biological importance. If you want to know one of the most important seas of the Antarctic Peninsula, here we show you.
Where is the Wedell Sea?
The first thing is to know the location of the Weddell Sea. The Weddell Sea lies within the Southern Ocean, just east of the Antarctic Peninsula. The name of this sea is due to the British explorer James Weddell who discovered it in 1832.
James Weddell undertook an expedition to search for whales and seals in Antarctica and was the first to reach latitude 74º15 south. The discovery of the Weddell Sea was very important for the geographical understanding of Antarctica, serving as a reference for future explorations of the region.
This Weddell Sea is located within the Antarctic Circle and is surrounded by the lands of Antarctica. The size of the Weddell Sea is approximately 2.8 million square kilometers and hosts a maximum depth of 5000 meters. As it could not be otherwise for the region in which it is located, the coast of the Weddell Sea is quite particular, since it is a barrier of ice and glaciers that serve to create an impressive landscape.
What wildlife inhabits the Weddell Sea?
As we mentioned before, the Weddell Sea is a sea of great biological importance. This is due to the fauna that inhabits the sea, fauna that can only be found in this region of the world for the most part.
One of the most famous species that inhabits the Weddell Sea is the Emperor Penguin. This type of penguin is the largest bird in all of Antarctica and is able to dive to great depths in search of food, so it does very well in the Weddell Sea.
Another of the most characteristic species of the Weddell Sea is the Weddell seal. As you can imagine from its name, it is a species of seal that is native to the Weddell Sea itself. It is adapted to the cold of Antarctica and spends quite a bit of time under the sea ice looking for food, mainly other fish and squid.
The Antarctic Minke whale is also one of the most common species of the Weddell Sea. This whale is relatively small for a whale, especially if we compare them with other species. The main food of this whale is Antarctic krill, one of the most important species within Antarctica as part of the food chain of many marine species.
Antarctic cod is another species native to the Weddell Sea. It is one of the main predators of the Weddell Sea and also forms a very important part of the food chain of the sea itself, as it feeds on Antarctic krill and other fish.
So that they are not all inhabitants of the sea, on the coast of the Weddell Sea lives the wandering albatross. These albatrosses are mainly characterized by the large size they have and the ability to fly long distances in search of food.
When is it best to travel to the Weddell Sea?
The best season to travel to the Weddell Sea is the summer season. The summer season of Antarctica is the one that corresponds to the months that go from November to March.
Although temperatures in Antarctica are always low, during this time most of the sea ice has melted, so it makes navigation and access to certain areas much easier.
During this time of year the fauna of the region is also more active, which is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the region much better. On average, the average temperature will be 0º Celsius, although there may be sudden drops in temperature and quite cold days, something logical considering the region we are talking about.
Tabular icebergs in the Weddell Sea
In addition to the particular fauna that exists in the Weddell Sea, it is especially known for its tubular icebergs. A tubular iceberg is a massive structure of ice that is characterized by having a flat and rectangular shape. At first glance, these icebergs are like a kind of table, an aspect for which they get their name.
Tubular icebergs in the Weddell Sea are formed through a process known as calving. Basically, it’s when a part of the ice shelf breaks off and becomes a floating iceberg in the ocean. As the ice moves and meets the water, it can break off into a flat, large chunk, creating a tubular iceberg.
Tubular icebergs drift across the ocean through ocean currents and winds. The movement of these can be faster or slower depending on the weather conditions and, due to these movements that can be carried out, they pose a constant threat to navigation in the area.
Some tubular icebergs can get trapped and be in the same place for a long time, while others can travel great distances and hit another coast or melt along the way. These tubular icebergs have great scientific importance because they carry information about the climate and geology of the place, so numerous studies are usually carried out on them.