Background and location of Antartica

Antarctica is the 5th largest continent, 25 per cent larger than Europe.

This single continent covers an area of approximately 14 million sq km. It is also the world's highest continent, with an average land height of 2,300 metres.

During the winter, much of the water surrounding Antarctica freezes. This sea ice nearly doubles the size of Antarctica.

The Antarctica sea ice level is highest in September and lowest in March

The South Pole is on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean surrounds the continent. From here, everywhere else in the world is north. No one lives in Antarctica permanently, though many scientists stay for long periods of time to carry out research. Countries have claimed ownership of parts of Antarctica.

Seven countries claim different parts of Antarctica