Everything You Need to Know about Traveling to Antarctica

Topics: Leopard


Before you begin to plan a trip to Antarctica you must be fully aware of the challenging climate you’ll be living in. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, and harshest continent. The cold climate is caused by multiple factors. Antarctica has high latitude, this causes the sunlight to hit its surface at a low angle of incidence. For this reason, Antarctica has austral winters and summers. During austral summer, there is sunlight 20-22 hours a day from September 21st to March 21st, while the rest of the year has 20-22 hours of darkness a day.

A common misconception about Antarctica is that is dark most of the year when in reality there will be up to 3 hours of light on the darkest days. During the austral winters, temperatures drop to the lowest point of the year, yet there is little difference between the temperature in the austral summers and winters. Surprisingly, sunburns are common in Antarctica and are caused by the ultraviolet light reflected by the snow and ice.

Though Antarctica is opposite of the blazing hot weather in deserts, it is considered a Polar desert. A polar desert is defined as a region with a mean temperature of 10 degrees Celsius in its warmest months and has no more than annual precipitation of 250 millimeters. Antarctica is considered a desert because of its minimal precipitation averaging 50 millimeters which is equivalent to 2 inches. Antarctica and the Arctic are the two only regions that have Polar Deserts. Antarctica has a colder climate than the Arctic.

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Antarctica is the coldest climate in the world, being aware of its climate is a key factor in knowing how to survive there.


Before traveling to any continent it is important to know about its risks. Risks fall into two main categories: health and safety. Being in good health and staying safe are dependent on each other. It is important to maintain your health and avoid life-threatening dangers, especially if you plan to live in Antarctica.

Dehydration. It may be hard to see why dehydration is a common risk in Antarctica. The cold and dry air in Antarctica causes your body to lose water just by breathing. As your body loses water, it can not regulate the body’s internal temperature. It causes the body to become stressed and tired. Luckily, it’s easy to prevent this from happening by staying hydrated and drinking lots of water.

Hypothermia. Hypothermia is a cold weather injury. When the body’s internal temperature drops significantly below 98 degrees Fahrenheit, this causes hypothermia. Hypothermia will cause the body’s blood vessels in the core, hands, feet, and brain to tighten. The first signs of hypothermia are loss of speech and poor coordination. If you or someone you know begins to have these symptoms you need to take them to a warm environment and put on warm clothing.

Frostbite. Frostbite is common whenever temperatures drop below freezing. Frostbite is the freezing of the skin. Knowing this, you would assume if you live in Antarctica someone would be more susceptible to frostbite. If you have a mild case of frostbite you need to warm it immediately. To prevent frostbite, always wear 4 layers of clothes and have the appropriate boots and gear.

Trench foot. Most people aren’t aware of what trench foot is. People mainly associate trench foot with world war I. Trench foot is caused by long immersion in cold water. It can be hard to keep your feet dry and warm living in Antarctica. Feet will begin to grow bacteria which leads to serious infections. If not treated it causes decay of the surface tissue and in severe cases the loss of toes. To prevent trench foot, you should frequently change your socks. A safety trainer said “Cotton kills. Don’t wear cotton” (antarctic hazards) because when cotton gets cold, it loses insulation which means wet cotton will get cold.

Ice. Always be aware of ice. Differentiating the three types of ice could save your life. Ice is either white, grey, or black. The safest ice to walk on is white ice. Its thickness of around 6-12 inches. Grey ice is young ice with a thickness of around 4-6 inches. It’s best to avoid grey ice, it can support some weight but is not considered safe. Black ice is the most unsafe. Black ice can not hold any weight and is considered to be the most dangerous type of ice.

Leopard Seals. There are 4 types of seals that live in Antarctica: leopard, crabeater, Weddell, and southern elephant. The Leopard Seal is the primary predator in Antarctica. Leopard Seals are the most dangerous and aggressive type of seals. They tend to be aggressive towards small boats and will eat almost everything they find. It’s best to stay away from them even though they don’t attack humans very often.

Crevasses. Crevasses can be very dangerous to humans. They range from less than a foot wide to hundreds of meters across. Crevasses can be challenging to identify. They may have a thin layer of snow and ice with only a hairline crack on their surface to identify them. When walking around in Antarctica you should be aware of your surroundings, and know how to identify crevasses. Crevasses are becoming more frequently found because of global warming. Do not wander in Antarctica alone, always travel with a group of a minimum of 3 people.

Important Skills

The key way to survive in Antarctica is to plan. You should study before traveling and learn important skills needed to survive. You should know how to prepare for storms, build shelters, what actions to take in an emergency, and navigation skills.


How to Build Shelter.


Emergency shelter

Navigation- knowing how to navigate in Antarctica- snow-lost- how to use field radios

Travel in small groups

Search and Rescue.


After learning about Antarctica’s climate, risks, and skills needed to survive you can decide if living there is right for you. There and various amounts of jobs in Antarctica. Once you decide which job is the best fit for you, you’ll begin the application process. After you’ve applied you may not hear back from them for several months before having an interview over the phone. If hired, you will have to go through various medical to test whether or not you are healthy enough to survive in the harshest climate in the world. You will go through various medical appointments including a physical, EKG, routine blood work, psychological evaluation, dental, and an eye exam. Most jobs pay around $15.50 an hour. Work schedules are often tight with uncompromising deadlines. If you can not function living in a small isolated community that is a red flag. Most people recommend being young, single, and adaptable to small isolated communities.

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Everything You Need to Know about Traveling to Antarctica. (2022, Aug 15). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-traveling-to-antarctica/

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