Nature #04: Frozen Adventure

We are here, once again, on a whole new adventure, to talk about our beloved nature. This time, our "travel", will start at the North Pole, then pass through Antarctica, with a brief but exciting passage through the lives of the inhabitants of these icy continents, so little known to most human beings.

Ice Adventure Nature
Image / Reproduction: National Geographic

THE North Pole it is the region that is located at the northern end of a planet. It is the place where the imaginary axis, different from the planet's rotation axis, cuts the surface. The interesting thing is to know that all planets and satellites have a True North or Geographic Pole and a Magnetic North Pole, which is not predominantly perpendicular to the translation axis - we have as an example on Earth where it forms an angle of 23º, 5 and in Uranus 90º.

The North Pole, arctic or boreal is one of the points marked on the charts of the Earth's surface where the latitude (geodetic coordinate) is equal to 90º. However, we should not confuse it with the northern geomagnetic pole, which is found in the boreal or arctic hemisphere, in a different location.

Although many think otherwise, the North Pole is much hotter than the South Pole, because it is surrounded by an ocean that acts as a heat reservoir. As incredible as it may seem, in the winter, which begins in January, the temperature of the North Pole can vary from -43 to -26º C, with an average of -34 º C. The average temperature in the summer, which starts in July, is around 0º C.

Ice Adventure Nature
Image / Reproduction: National Geographic

There is a recent study, which was funded by the European Union and published by Geophysical Research Letters, showing that the average thickness of the ice has decreased in recent years. As it could not be otherwise, the reduction of sea ice has as its main cause a well known phenomenon, as feared as spoken, the global warming.

And to make matters worse, recently, scientists predicted that the North Pole could melt between 2030 and 2050. On December 15, 2008, the Canadian television series The Daily Planet reported that the ice cap could melt by 2014, that is, with every year that man with his disastrous interventions on the planet passes, it is causing irreparable harm.

Snow Adventure Nature
Image / Reproduction: National Geographic

We can not fail to mention an equally important animal that manages to arouse our curiosity for their size and because it is unusual to find them in common places: the Polar Bear, bigger terrestrial carnivore, the kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorff), occupies the second place being the most robust than the polar, but a little smaller in stature.

The polar bear is huge and stocky, very similar to the brown bear, except that it does not have a bulge on the shoulders. And another point to be emphasized, is the existence of a great oscillation in the size of the bears in different geographic regions due to the existence of a variation cline of Spitzenberg where bears are smaller, Bering Strait  where they are bigger.

The coat, in general, has a white appearance, being able to acquire a yellowish tone in the summer, due to the oxidation caused by the sun or even gray or brown, depending on the season and the lighting conditions. However, the skin is black, as well as the muzzle and lips, but the hair is colorless due to the lack of pigment and, the white appearance, results from the light being reflected from the transparent hairs. Bears are strong and equally beautiful animals, much admired.

Ice Adventure Nature
Image / Reproduction: National Geographic

If we refer to the precepts of international law, no country currently owns the North Pole or the Arctic Ocean region as one of its territories. Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (via Greenland) and the United States (via Alaska) are limited to an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles (approximately 370 km) around their coasts.

In another part of the planet we see Antarctica, which in Brazil is known as Antarctica, is the southernmost of the continents and one of the smallest, with a surface of fourteen million square kilometers. It surrounds the South Pole, which is why it is almost completely covered by huge glaciers (glaciers) except for some areas of high slope in mountain ranges and the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula.

It is the coldest, driest continent, with the highest average altitude and the highest rate of strong winds on the planet. The lowest temperature on Earth (-89.2 ºC) was recorded in that continent, with the average temperature of the coast, during the summer, of only -10 º C and, in the interior of the continent, it is -40 ºC.

Ice Adventure Nature
Image / Reproduction: National Geographic

Regarding the legal issue, Antarctica is subject to the Antarctic Treaty, whereby the various nations that claimed territories on the continent, such as: Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Norway, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, agree to give up their pretensions, to open the continent to scientific exploration.

The attitude of these countries, is very auspicious, because it opens the doors of science to new discoveries that I feel, will be extremely beneficial, and may serve to help minimize the effects of the aggressions that are being imposed on nature by human beings.

THE Penguin which for me is a very charming and graceful bird, belongs to the species Spheniscidae, non-flying, characteristic of the Southern Hemisphere, found still in other places like: Antarctica and islands of the southern seas, found in Tierra del Fuego, Falkland Islands and South Africa. Contrary to what many think, it is not only in polar regions that these charming birds are found.

Ice Adventure Nature
Image / Reproduction: National Geographic

There are also species that live in the tropics, for example, the Galapagos penguin. These birds basically feed on small fish, krill and other forms of marine life. However, they are victims of predatory animals, such as orcas and leopard seals.

And, another characteristic of the penguin, is that it is an excellent swimming sea bird, being able to swim with a speed of up to 45 km / h, spending most of the time in the water. Penguins also served as inspiration for films produced by Walt Disney studios, such as: Frozen (2013) Madagascar 1, 2 and 3, all of which were very successful with the public.

Like penguins, polar bears served as inspiration for the arts, such as Jake, the Polar Bear - muppet character in the series Animal Show, a children's television series made with puppets and shown on Animal Planet.

Despite the threats to which these species are subjected, inspiring films, TV series, comic books, to name just a few examples, I firmly believe that there is still time to we try to revert this picture so that animals can be saved not only for their good, but also for the whole of Planet Earth and for all of us, because without them, our world will become worse.

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Next episode: Nature #05: The Underworld ...

My name is Sonia Maria, I am from Rio, with great pride, lawyer, businesswoman. In my spare time I love reading good books, dancing, traveling, dating. And I am a very obstinate person, I know how to be patient, in fact, patience is essential so that we do not give up on our goals.