The southern lights, aurora australis, Antarctica


A vast, icy continent at the very south of the planet, the Antarctic is a land of extremes. Larger than Europe and nearly twice the size of Australia (1) (2), it is almost entirely buried beneath an ice sheet which covers around 99 percent of the land surface (2) (3) (4). The Antarctic ice sheet contains 90 percent of the world’s ice and around 70 percent of its freshwater (2) (3) (5) (6) (7).

The Antarctic is the world’s coldest continent, holding the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded on the Earth’s surface, at -89.2 degrees Celsius (1) (3) (6).