Population of North America 2014

population-of-north-america-2014Population of North America 2014

Based on population expectancies and the estimated population of 2013, the population of North America is projected to reach an estimate of 533,215,000 in the year 2014. As a result, North America remains as the fourth-most populous continent in the world, behind Asia, Africa, and Europe. North America is made up of twenty-three independent states, nine internationally recognized dependent territories, and fourteen other areas, including Greenland, which is a constituent country of Denmark (European nation). The most populous country in North America is the United States of America, which more than doubles the population of the second-most populous country in North America, Mexico. The least populous country in North America is Montserrat, which is a dependent territory of the United Kingdom. The least populous sovereign state in North America is Saint Kitts and Nevvis, which is also the smallest sovereign state in terms of land area and size. The smallest state, including dependent territories, is Saba, a dependent territory of the Netherlands.

Language in North America 2014

There are three major languages spoken throughout North America: English, Spanish, and French. Canada’s official languages are both French and English, making it bilingual. The various provinces throughout Canada have adopted either language as their official language and sometimes both. While there is no official language of the United States of America, English tends to be the most widely spoken language, especially in the workforce and education sector. However, the state of Louisiana deems French as an official language. But, due to the large number of immigrants throughout the country, various languages, including Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and many others, are also spoken frequently, depending on the location. Latin America, generally indicating the territory south of the United States, most frequently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. The official language of Mexico is considered to be Spanish. Lastly, Belize is not always considered to be a part of Latin America. In fact, the official language of Belize is English.

Geography of North America

There are four major regions of North America: the Great Plains, the mountainous west, the plateaus of the Canadian Shield in the northeast, and the eastern region, which contains various geographic features. The Great Plains extend from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Arctic. The mountainous west includes the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, California, and Alaska. Lastly, the eastern region includes things such as the Appalachian Mountains, the Florida peninsula, and even the coastal plains along the Atlantic coast. Mexico is considered to be a part of the western region, despite part of its geographic location in the east.
The boundaries of the continent are sometimes debated, especially in regards to the southern boundary. The West Indies is traditionally always considered to be a part of North America. Also, despite the fact that Greenland is a constituent country of Denmark, its geographic location lies within the boundaries of North America, and so it is traditionally considered as part of North America. The only land connection that North American and South American have is the Isthmus of Panama. Many people declare that this is the boundary between the two continents. However, some people say that the boundary is at the Darien watershed on the border between Colombia and Panama, which would make the entire country of Panama in the North American continent, instead of partially in North America and partially in South America. Lastly, some people say that the most southern point of North America is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

On December 17, 1992, Present George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Mexican President Carlos Salinas met in San Antonio, Texas in order to sign the North American Free Trade Agreement. However, the proposed agreement needed to be authorized and approved by each nation’s legislature. Clinton, who won the 1992 Presidential Election, came into office in the midst of the negotiations. But, after adding a couple subsequent agreements, the United States Congress approved the bill. Thus, Clinton signed it into law on December 8, 1993. The main purpose of this agreement between the North American nations was to eliminate most of the barriers to trade and investment. The bill worked to slowly remove the trade barriers over the course of the next ten years between the United States and Mexico. There have been some restrictions on the trade of agricultural goods between the countries, however. The bill also helped create more jobs in the countries, along with allowing some immigrants a legal way to work in the United States. Lastly, the agreement included the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, which established the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to help negate the concerns of the negative impact the agreement would have on the environment.

population-of-north-america-2014-highwayTransportation in North America 2014

There currently exists one highway system between the continents: the Pan-American Highway. The Pan-American Highway is made up of 30,000 miles of roads, extending from Alaska down into South America. However, the North American portion of the highway is only 16,000 miles long. Although the roads in Canada are not officially a part of the Pan-American Highway, they still connect and travel throughout the continent. Also, on May 10, 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States of America was completed. The final spike was placed at the Promontory Summit, Utah, establishing a transportation system, which helped advance and further the American economy. The economy no longer had to rely on wagon trains for transportation, but could now use the railroad network to travel from the eastern coast of the United States to California.

North American Fox

North American Climate 2014

There are five major climate regions in North America: the Arctic zone, the cool temperate zone, the warm temperate zone, the tropical humid zone, and the dry zone. The Arctic Zone consists of the northern parts of the Canadian Shield and Alaska, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland. The only months that the temperatures may rise above freezing are June to September. Despite only receiving, on average, 2 to 4 inches of precipitation, the Arctic Zone may receive 30 to 60 inches of snow. The cool temperate zone consists of the regions from Newfoundland to Alaska and from the Hudson Bay to the Ohio River. The temperatures in this region range from average lows from -80°F to average highs of more than 50°F. Average precipitation ranges from 15 to 35 inches per year, and the most precipitation occurs during the summer and fall seasons.

The warm temperate zones include the southeast coast of the United States and the American Southwest. The southeast, along with its warm average temperatures, has an average of about 40 to 60 inches of rainfall every year. Hurricanes are a large hazard to these climate regions due to their location near the Gulf of Mexico. The American Southwest experiences averages around 15 to 30 inches of rainfall, but accompanied with high evaporation rates, making it hard to sufficiently grow crops during the summer. The tropical humid climate mainly includes Central America. This climate region experiences average temperatures above 64°F and under 82°F. The average rainfall per year is around 45 to 80 inches. This region also experiences dangerous hurricanes. Lastly, the dry climate region makes up around a third of the continent, including high altitudes in the Arctic regions and certain parts of the American Southwest. This region is plagued by a lack of rainfall, receiving, on average, less than 10 inches per year.

Population of Asia 2014

population-of-asia-2014Asian Population 2014

Based on the most recent population growth trends, the population of Asia is estimated to be 4,426,683,000 compared to 4,299,000,000 in 2013. Asia consists of 49 countries, 6 countries that are either partially recognized or unrecognized, and 6 countries that are dependent on other countries. In fact, it is the largest continent of Earth, covering about 8.8% of the total surface area. It covers 44,579,000 square kilometers, which is about 30% of the Earth’s land area. The most populated country in Asia is the People’s Republic of China with an estimated population 1.35 billion people. The least populated country is the Republic of Maldives with an estimated population of about 330,000 in 2012. The largest country in terms of area is the Russian Federation with about 17.1 million square kilometers. The smallest country in terms of area is also the Republic of Maldives with a bout 298 square kilometers.

Asian Geography 2014

Throughout the course of history, the boundaries of Asia have been disputed, especially due to the enlargement of the Russian Federation throughout history. However, the current boundaries are as follows: east of the Suez Canal and the Ural Mountains, south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, west of the Pacific Ocean, north of the Indian Ocean, and south of the Arctic Ocean. There are two countries that are partly in Europe as well: Russia and Turkey. The Asian portion of Russia is all of the land to the east of the Ural Mountains. The Asian portion of Turkey consists of mainly Anatolia, separated by the Sea of Marmara, the Dardanelles, and the Bosphorus.
Asia is traditionally split up into six regions: Central Asia, Western Asia, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeastern Asia. Central Asia is made up of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia. Western Asia (otherwise known as the Middle East) is made up of Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Southern Asia is made up of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhustan, Bangladesh, and Iraq. Eastern Asia is made up of China, Hong Kong, Macao, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and Taiwan. Southeastern Asia is made up of Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste.

Central Asia 2014

Central Asia extends from the Caspian Sea to China (west to east) and from Afghanistan to Russia (south to north). This region is made up of a diverse selection of geographical features. One in particular is that it contains desert regions, including the Gobi desert. In fact, it contains the world’s northernmost desert, which is located in Mongolia. It also contains a few mountain ranges, including the Great Khinghan and Tian Shan Mountains. Part of Central Asia is made up of grassy steppes, which extend into Europe, and are a part of the Eurasian Steppe. However, overall, most of the region is dry and rugged. Islam is the most widely practiced religion in Central Asia. Also, the major language spoken in these Central Asian countries is Russian. However, there are many local languages spoken in each country. For example, Turkmen, a language derived from Turkish, is spoken in Turkmenistan, and Kazakh is spoken in Kazakhstan.

Western Asia 2014

Western Asia is not only hope to many prolific cultures today, but it is also considered to be the home of the world’s earliest civilizations. It is bordered on the north with Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Mountains and is surrounded by seven seas: the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Overall, the area tends to be arid and frequently experiences droughts. However, its land is made up of forests, fertile valleys, grasslands, deserts, and mountains. The land’s most important source of irrigation is the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The largest economy in this region is Turkey, and the largest industry in this region is petroleum.

Southern Asia 2014

Southern Asia is bordered by the Indian Ocean on the South and the other regions of Asia on all other sides. The main part of the region is made up of the peninsula India. However, its geographical features include rainforests, deserts, glaciers, and grasslands as well. Other than the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea also border this region. The Himalaya Mountain Range run along the northern border of the region. Because of the location of the mountains, the temperatures stay fairly moderate throughout the year. The two major languages spoken in this region are Hindi and Bengali. Lastly, the three major religions in this region are Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.

Eastern Asia 2014

Eastern Asia makes up about 28% of the geographical size and 38% of the population of the entire continent. In fact, this region is also geographically larger than Europe. The largest city in the world, Tokyo, Japan, is located in this region of the continent. The largest cultural influence for this region is said to be Northern China, bringing Confucian philosophy and political and other religious philosophies as well.

population-of-asia-2014-southeastSoutheastern Asia 2014

Southeastern Asia is the region of the continent south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea, and north of Australia. The Malay Archipelago, located in the Philippines, is considered to be one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Many large mountains, including Hkakabo Razi and Mount Kinabalu, also characterize the region. For the most part, the region tends to be tropical and humid throughout the year. Due to the tropical climate, there are wet and dry seasons, which are made worse due to monsoons. The region contains three endangered species of tigers: the Sumatran Tiger, the Malayan Tiger, and the Indochinese Tiger. Lastly, the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, occupies Indonesian islands in this region.

Asian Climate 2014

Since Asia is the largest continent on Earth, it makes sense that it also has the widest variety of climate. Siberia, in the northern part of Asia, has some of the coldest temperatures in all of the Northern Hemisphere. In contrast, though, the southeastern portion of the country experiences tropical weather and temperatures. Many of the drastic climate changes are due to the large bodies of water surrounding the continent. Monsoons surround the continent, causing severe winds across the countries. During the winter, these monsoon winds blow from the North into East Asia, which is the cause of the bitterly cold and dry weather in the winters. However, the winds change direction in the summer and affect the countries in the south and southeastern portion of the continent. These winds cause the hot and humid weather due to the monsoon winds from the seas below the continent.

Religion in Asia 2014

Asia is the home and birthplace of most of the world’s major religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many others. Judaism originated in West Asia and is still primarily practiced there, specifically Israel. Christianity is the main religion practiced in places like the Philippines and East Timor due to the influence of Spain and Portugal. Also, Eastern Orthodoxy is practiced in Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, and Russia. Islam, originating in Saudi Arabia, is now the largest and most widespread religion in all of Asia. Asia contains 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population. Hinduism is largely practiced in Southeast Asia, specifically India and Nepal. In fact, over 80% of those countries’ populations practice Hinduism. Lastly, Buddhism is highly practiced in Southeast and East Asia, specifically Cambodia and Thailand, where over 95% of their populations practice Buddhism.

Asia’s Growing Population

Population of Australia 2014

population-of-australia-2014Population of Australia 2014

The estimated population for 2014 of the Australian continent is about 36.25 million people. It is considered to have one of the lowest population densities in the entire world, approximately 2.8 people per square kilometer. The Australian continent is made up of Commonwealth of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Timor, West Papua, and Papua. Though some typically may think so, New Zealand is actually not a part of the continent. The largest portion of the population of the continent comes from the Commonwealth of Australia. Some other names that the continent is known by are Sahul, Australinea, and Meganesia. The five most populous cities of the continent are in the Commonwealth of Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. Each of these cities has a population of at least over 1 million inhabitants.

Geography of Australia 2014

Australia is considered to be the smallest continent, occupied by people, in geographic size. The continent is made up of only 3,310,000 square miles. People sometimes refer to it as an island continent, since the majority of its land is made up of the island of the Commonwealth of Australia. In fact, out of the 3.31 million square miles of the whole continent, the Commonwealth of Australia makes up 2.941 million square miles, a large majority of the total land mass. The large size of the island allows for various geographic features. The northeast is characterized by subtropical rainforests. Also, off the northeast coast of the island is the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef. In the southeast, southwest, and eastern portions of the island, there are quite a few mountains and mountain ranges. One of these mountains is Mount Kosciuzko, the highest mountain of the Australian mainland, reaching 7,310 feet. This mountain is a part of the Great Dividing Range that runs along the eastern coast of the island. The land is typically dry and is considered to be the flattest continent in the world.

The Commonwealth of Australia is broken up into six states: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Also, there are two larger territories, known as the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Tasmania is the only state without one of the top five most populous cities. The major city of New South Wales is Sydney, of Victoria is Melbourne, of Queensland is Brisbane, of Western Australia is Perth, and of Southern Australia is Adelaide.

Australian Education 2014

Education is a very important part of the human development of every Australian citizen. It is required to attend school or attend home school in all parts of Australia. However, the individual states actually regulate and manages the schools in the states. Even though the overall areas are similar, the states also decide what curriculum to be taught in the schools. Required schooling lasts until an individual is 16 years old. However, when a student reaches 16, they have the option of attending a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program or a Technical and Further Education System (TAFE). VET is intended to help educate people in certain skills and techniques for careers and jobs that do not need a degree. Even though each state regulates and manages these programs, if a student has been VET certified for a certain career in one state, he or she is allowed to use such certification in another state as well. Most of the universities in Australia are government-funded. The oldest university, founded in 1850, is the University of Sydney. Despite the fact that Australia is deemed to be one of the most expensive places to attend a university, it also ranks having one of the highest graduation rates amongst countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Overall, the country tends to score in the top five of thirty developed countries.

Australian Health Care 2014

Since 1975, Australia has achieved universal health care coverage, which is known as Medicare, which has helped them have the fourth highest life expectancy in the world. Any citizen, permanent resident, visitor, people with temporary visas from countries with arrangements with Australia, and even students studying abroad in the country all receive health care coverage in Australia. Many people that are not eligible for Medicare can still receive some form of assistance and help through non-governmental organizations, like the Australian Red Cross. Also, organizations like the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care exist in order to ensure that health-care standards are high. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is the agency that makes the regulations and standards for general practice.

Most of the coverage for health care comes from tax revenue, mainly by a levy tax of about 1.5%. If a person prefers to attend a private practice, he or she may have to pay out of pocket for the difference between the subsidized health care cost (cost at a public health care facility) and what the provider charges. However, both the federal and the state government provide most of the funding for the health care system. About 71% of the funding comes from the governments. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is the agency that takes care of reimbursing pharmacists for the cost of the medications that they prescribed. There is a certain list and type of medications that the PBS will cover. The sponsor of the drug/medication is who sets the price of the specific medication. If a certain drug will cost over $10 million annually, the government must approve of the coverage of the drug.

 population-of-australia-2014-cuisineAustralian Cuisine 2014

Indigenous Australians, the oldest indigenous civilization known to man, has been a large influence on the modern cuisine of Australia. The general term for any sort of food, native to Australia, which was used in culinary dishes or medicines is bush tucker. Bush tucker can be anything from plants to meats. For example, one type of bush tucker is the wattleseed. Wattleseed is an Acacia plant that is typically ground and roasted. Some people report that it has a taste of cocoa, coffee, and hazelnut. Other types of bush tucker are kangaroo and emu. Both meats are served throughout the country and continent. Kangaroo tends to be a much more lean meat than meats like beef and pork, and emu is a protein-packed, low-in-fat, and flavorful meat, eaten fairly often in Australia. The interesting thing is that Australians eat both kangaroo and emu, which are both found on the Coat of Arms of the country. Lastly, another modern dish is the salt and pepper squid. The main difference between this and calamari is that the salt and pepper squid is only lightly floured before frying.

Language in Australia 2014

Although no official language, the closest thing is English. Around 81% of people speak English in the home. Accompanied with English, the language in Australia has a strong Australian dialect and accent that make the language slightly unique to the area. In Papua New Guinea, there are three official languages: English, Tok Pisin, and Hiri Motu. Small portions of the country speak Greek, Mandarin, Chinese, and a few other Asian languages. While English is the language spoken in government and education, Tok Pisin is spoken in the workplace. Hiri Motu is mainly spoken in the southern region, where Tok Pisin is not spoken. Nonetheless, many indigenous and local languages are spoken amongst tribes throughout the respective regions of the continent.

The Australian Contient

Population of Antarctica 2014

population-of-antarctica-2014Population of Antarctica 2014

The continent of Antarctica is the only continent in the world with a permanent residence of zero. However, despite this fact, the continent is inhabited with temporary residents, mainly there to conduct research. On December 1, 1959, twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty, an agreement surrounding international relations with Antarctica. Today, fifty countries have signed the treaty, agreeing that Antarctica should be used for research purposes. As a result, around twenty-nine of the countries have National Antarctica Programs that send researchers to research facilities in Antarctica throughout the year to conduct certain research. The total number of researchers present on the continent is estimated to range from about 1,000 to about 4,500 at any given time. The estimated population density of the continent ranges from about 0.00018 people per square mile to about 0.00091 people per square mile.

The nine countries that have the most researchers present on the continent during the most popular time are Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. United States has the most researchers present and has about 1,293 researchers. Italy has the least amount of researchers with about 102 researchers. Argentina has 667; Russia has 429; Chile has 359; the United Kingdom has 217; Australia has 200; and, France and Japan each have 125. Despite the treaty and the joint agreement that no one country can really hold claim to the continent, seven countries claim the continent and maintain a base there. The seven countries are Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Norway, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Argentine Antarctica

Argentine Antarctica is considered to be the portion of the continent containing the Antarctic Peninsula and a small triangular section that extends towards the South Pole. Despite the overlap with Great Britain and Chile’s sectors of the continent, Argentina has six permanent bases in the sector. The six bases are Belgrano II, Esperanza, Carlini, Marambio Base Station, Orcadas Base, and San Martin Base. Belgrano II was started in 1979 and is in fact the southern most Argentine laboratory. Esperanza consists of the national radio of Argentine Antarctica and also the school Julio A. Roca, which has been around since 1978. Carlini is simply just a laboratory on King George Island. Marambio Base Station, around since 1969, is one of the biggest laboratories in the Argentine sector. Orcadas Base, around since 1903, was the world’s first base in Antarctica. Lastly, San Martin Base dedicates its time to meteorological measurements. The sector also contains seven seasonal bases and four miscellaneous camps.

Australian Antarctica

The largest sector claimed by any country is the Australian sector of Antarctica. It consists of 2,276,651 square miles. The sector is split up into nine districts, the largest of which is Wilkes Land, consisting of about 2.6 million square kilometers. Originally, the United Kingdom had claimed the territory for itself. However, in 1933, the United Kingdom placed the sector under the authority and power of Australia. There are three year-round stations throughout this area: Mawson, Davis, and Casey. Mawson Station became the first Australian station on the continent on February 13, 1954. One of the main concerns with this area is Japan’s controversial whaling in the waters surrounding this territory. Australia claims that the area is an Exclusive Economic Zone and that Japan is violating their sovereignty. However, Japan does not recognize the Australian claim on the territory, which is why they do not abide by their request.

Chilean Antarctica

The main organization that administers the territory is known as Antarctica. It was established on July 11, 1961 and became independent from the Magallanes Province in 1975. This sector overlaps with the Argentinean and British sectors of the continent, but it consists of about 492,628 square miles. There are two districts in this sector: Poloto Pardo and Tierra O’Higgins. The most populated area in this sector is on King George Island. Frei Montalva Station is also in this sector, which is a large research center. However, the main Chilean research facility in Antarctica is the Professor Julio Escudero Base. The sector only has one permanent research facility: O’Higgins Station. Lastly, the oldest Chilean Antarctic station is called the Captain Arturo Prat Base, which was created on February 6, 1947.

French Antarctica

The Adelie Land is the territory in Antarctica claimed by the French government. It makes up about 166,796 square miles and is covered mainly by glaciers. The area was first discovered in 1840 by a French explorer, who named the area after his wife, Adele. The Dumont d’Urville Station is the only permanent French research station in the continent. It has been around since January 12, 1956. The population of the research center hits approximately 80 people during the summer. Also, the movie March of the Penguins was filmed at the research facility. Lastly, the original research center was Port Martin, established on April 9, 1950, and, in fact, burned down on January 22-23, 1952.

Norwegian Antarctica

Despite Germany’s attempts at claiming the territory, Norway annexed Queen Maud Land, the name given to the land by early explorers, on January 14, 1939. The territory is about 1,042,476 square miles. Norway hoped to help the whaling industry and their explorers by annexing the territory. The Polar Affairs Department of the Ministry of Justice and the Police administers Queen Maud Land. The first summer station established in the territory is known as Troll and was established in 1989. In 2005, Troll was upgraded to a year-round station. The only other Norwegian research facility is Tor, which is a summer facility founded in 1985. Lastly, the three main birds in this area are the Antarctic petrel, the snow petrel, and raptor.

Antarctica New Zealand

The original involvement by New Zealand in Antarctica began in 1923, mainly due to their close relations with the United Kingdom. Then, in 1959, Scott Base became the first permanent base of New Zealand in Antarctica. On July 1, 1996, New Zealand created the New Zealand Antarctic Institute, also known as Antarctica New Zealand, which functions to manage all Antarctica affairs.

British Antarctic Territory

Great Britain officially claimed their territory in Antarctica in 1908, when it extended its influence further into the South Atlantic. During World War II, the British Antarctic Survey was created, but was forced to disband due to the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. There are two permanent research facilities in this territory: Halley and Rothera. Signy was a permanent research facility from 1947 until 1996, but is now solely a summer research facility. The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust runs the base at Port Lockroy. There is a museum that receives around 10,000 visitors every year. Lastly, the southern part of the territory was named Queen Elizabeth Land after Queen Elizabeth II on December 18, 2012, despite the criticism received from Argentina.

Climate of Antarctica

Antarctica is considered to be the coldest continent on the planet. It is the location of the coldest recorded temperature ever on planet earth. On July 21, 1983, the temperature was recorded as -89° C or -129° F at the Russian Vostok Station. The mean temperature throughout the year at the South Pole is -48° C and the mean temperature at the Russian Vostok Station is about -55° C. The relative density of the continent is about 0.03%, which is why it is considered to be a polar desert. In fact, the whole continent averages less than 50 millimeters of rain per year. Antarctica is so much colder than anywhere else due to its high latitude. The sunlight hits the surface of the continent at a lower angle of incidence, resulting in lower energy distributed per unit area. Also, because the snow and ice are highly reflective, there is little radiation that is actually absorbed by the surface. Also, there is a portion of the year where the continent is in complete darkness, resulting in even colder temperatures. The dry air comes as a result of the difficulty of cold air retaining water, especially air as cold as Antarctica’s air. The high-pressure system also is a contributing factor to the dry air.

Animals of Antarctica

There are four major groups of animals on the continent of Antarctica: birds, penguins, seals, and whales. Their larger bodies with a waterproof plumage characterize the Antarctic birds. Overall, there are nineteen species of birds that breed on the continent. The largest species is the Albatross. There are about 750,000 pairs of Albatross. These birds are able to fly 550 miles per day with speeds up to 50 miles per hour. They breed from the months of December to July and give birth from February to October. Another large species is the Antarctic Fulmar. In defense of their nests that they may feel are threatened, they are able to spit an oil with a foul smell up to five feet. They breed from October to December and give birth in January. Lastly, the Sheathbill is also a large species, as there exist around 100,000 pairs of the bird. They are the only bird in Antarctica without webbed feet. They breed from September to November and also give birth in November.

There are only four species of penguins that breed on the continent of Antarctica: Adelie, Emperor, Chinstrap, and Gentoo. The largest species is the Chinstrap, which has around 7 million pairs on the continent. These penguins can only dive up to a maximum of 230 feet and can only stay underneath for about up to a half a minute. They breed from October to November and give birth from January to February. The next largest species is the Adelie, which consists of about 2.5 million pairs of the penguin. During the winter seasons, this penguin will stay out at sea, resting on icebergs and pack ice. Lastly, the only penguin that breeds during the winter months is the Emperor species. There are only about 200,000 pairs of this penguin.

population-of-antarctica-2014-sealsThere are six species of seals on the Antarctic continent: Crabeater, Fur, Leopard, Ross, Southern Elephant, and Weddell. The largest species is the Crabeater, which consists of about 30 million seals on the continent. They are considered to also be the largest consumer of krill, eating around 20 times their body weight every year. They breed during the Austral spring and give birth during the months of December and January. The next largest species is the Fur seal, which consists of about 4 million seals. These seals are the reason that many people began to explore and hunt for seals in the 18th and 19th centuries, due to their valuable fur. The Fur seals breed during the months of November and December and give birth from November to January. Lastly, the next largest species of seals is the Weddell seal, named after the commander of British sealing explorations, Sir James Weddell. There exist about 800,000 seals of this species. They live in the most southern habitation of all the mammals. They live only about 800 miles from the South Pole. These seals breed in December and give birth from September to October.

There are seven species of whales in the waters surrounding the continent. The whales can be grouped into two categories: toothed and baleen. The toothed whales are the Orca and Sperm whales. The baleen whales are the Blue, Fin, Humpback, Minke, and Southern Right. The largest species of whales of the continent is the Sperm whale, consisting of about 750,000 whales. Growing up to 50 feet long, they eat giant squids, fish, octopus, and skate. Diving up to a mile, they are the deepest diving mammals of Antarctica. The next largest species is the Minke whale, which consists of about 500,000 whales. They can grow up to 30 feet long and they eat krill, fish, and squid. This species of whale is the only whale that remains hunted by the Japanese and Norwegians. The next largest species of whales is the Orca whale, which consists of over 100,000 whales. They can grow up to 30 feet long and they need fish, birds, and marine mammals. They are known to hunt in packs and not migrate during the winter. Lastly, the fastest of the baleen whales is the Fin whale. There are about 100,000 Fin whales, which can grow up to about 90 feet long, eating squid, krill, and fish.

Antarctic Treaty

In 1959, thirteen countries drafted the Antarctic Treaty in order to create an international agreement on the purpose and handling of the continent. The treaty consists of fourteen articles, outlining all the provisions and measures in regards to Antarctica. The first provision that they outlined was that any business on the continent must be for peaceful purposes only. All military personnel, equipment, and/or bases are prohibited from the continent. The second article states that all countries have the freedom of scientific investigation on the continent. Along with this, Article III states that all international powers involved in scientific research on the continent must make sure the other countries know of the plans to research, share the results from the research, and share the research personnel between the research stations. Some of the other major provisions include a ban on all nuclear activity and material and to put aside any territorial sovereignty disputes. The treaty took effect on June 23, 1961. Since the original signing of the treaty, the number of parties engaged in the treaty has come to fifty. The most recent addition to the treaty was Pakistan, who joined on March 1, 2012.

5 Things you Didn’t Know About Antarctica

Population of South America 2014

Population of South America 2014

Based on the approximate average annual population growth of 1% and the previous population, the population of South America in 2014 should reach about 389,860,000 people. As a result, South America remains the fifth most populous continent in the world, in front of Australia and Antarctica. In total, there are thirteen sovereign states, four partially sovereign states, and two dependencies in South America. The country with the largest population in South America is Brazil, reaching over 195 million people in 2013. Brazil is also the largest country in terms of area, making up 3,287,612 square miles of land. The least populated country is South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (United Kingdom dependency), made up of 20 people. It is also the smallest country in terms of land area, only made up of 1,194 square miles. Lastly, the majority of the population lives on the western and eastern coasts compared to the southern coast and the interior of the country.

Languages of South America 2014

The most widely spoken languages throughout the continent of South America are Portuguese and Spanish. Over 50% of the population speaks Portuguese, but the number of Spanish speakers is close behind the number of Portuguese speakers. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, while Spanish is the official language of most countries. However, Dutch is the official language of Suriname and English is the official language of Guyana. Despite these major languages, there are still many prominent indigenous languages spoken throughout South America. Some of these languages include Quechua, Wayuunaiki, Guarani, Aymara, and Mapudungun. Quechua, Guarani, and Aymara are recognized as national languages in at least one of the countries.

South American Geography

South America, almost primarily in the Southern Hemisphere portion of the Western Hemisphere, makes up the southern part of the American landmass. The northern border of South America is traditionally determined by the Colombia-Panama border along with the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Due to the shape of the continent, it has the least amount of coastline of any continent in the world. South America is characterized geographically by some of the most extreme geographic features in the world. The highest waterfall in the entire world is found in Venezuela, South America, known as Angel Falls. It also has the highest single drop waterfall in Guyana, known as Kaieteur Falls. The Amazon River is the longest river in the world and the Andes Mountains are the longest mountain range in the world. The driest place on earth is the Atacama Desert, and in contrast, the largest rainforest is the Amazon Rainforest. Lastly, some of the most important minerals and resources in South America are gold, copper, tin, petroleum, silver, and iron ore.

Economy of South America 2014

Unlike most continents in the world, South American does not heavily rely on exports for their economy. In fact, compared to the average of 25% of GDP being exports, only 16% of South America’s GDP comes from exports. But, Brazil is the country in South America that has the largest amount of exports in the continent. As of 2011, their total sum of merchandise exports was about $251 billion. The largest nominal GDP throughout South America is also Brazil, totaling $2,492,908 in 2011. However, Brazil’s economy was the only economy such that the Purchasing Power Parity GDP was less than the nominal GDP in 2011. The PPP GDP was $2,294,243, compared to $2,492,908. Uruguay had the least percentage of people living on less than $2 per day, totaling only 2.2% of their population. As of 2010, the city with the largest GDP per capita of $46,571 is Brasilia, Brazil. Lastly, tourism has increasingly become a significant part of the economy for many countries, as people from all over come to study the different cultures, spectacles, and histories throughout the continent.

Climate of South America 2014

There are four major climate regions throughout the continent of South America: tropical, temperate, arid, and cold. There are two types of tropical weather: tropical rainy and tropical wet-dry. The tropical rainy climate occurs along the Pacific coast of Colombia, the coast of the Guyanas, partially on the coast of Brazil, and in the Amazon Basin. This region includes some of the wettest parts of the world and it always has high humidity. The tropical wet-dry climate occurs on the edge of the tropical-rainy belt, the Orinoco basin, on the Brazilian Highlands, and partially in Western Ecuador. This region may have more extreme temperatures than the tropical rainy region, but it also does not have anywhere near the amount of precipitation. The temperate climate occurs south of the Tropic of Capricorn and in the middle elevations in the Andes Mountains. This region has varying temperatures, which depend on the time of the year and the seasons. Some regions even experience heavy rainfall throughout the year.

The arid climate occurs in the South American deserts, Patagonia, northwestern Argentina, and the belt between the Parnaiba and Sao Francisco rivers. Low levels of rainfall during the year characterize this region, along with varying temperatures based on location. Lastly, the cold climate occurs in the southern parts of Argentina and Chile, along with the parts of the Andes Mountains that exceed 11,500 feet. Temperatures tend to be relatively low in this region with mean temperatures of less than 50°F. Also, despite the couple months during the summer of rainfall, this region tends to be fairly dry. Lastly, in regards to climate, there tend to be three major causes for the climate in South America: high-pressure air masses over the South Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, presence of cold ocean currents along the western portion of the continent, and the orographic barrier of the Andes Mountains.

South American Cultural Demographics

South America is made up of four different cultural groups: American Indians, Iberians, Africans, and European immigrants. The Iberians were the first people to reach the continent and start interactions with the American Indians. The two cultures began to mix and evolve. The marriage between Indians and Iberians was tolerated and sometimes even encouraged. However, most times, mestizo (European and Indian) children were considered to be illegitimate children. Now, there are many different mixed races based on the different cultures and peoples in the continent. As stated before, mestizo describes the mixture of European and Indian. Mulatto describes the mixture of European and African ancestry. Zambo describes the mixture of African and Indian ancestry. Lastly, cholo describes mestizo and Indian ancestry. South America is known to be racially and demographically diverse with a strong indigenous population that still works to preserve their cultures and traditions, despite the influences of many other cultures.

Tapir Population in South America

Religion in South America 2014

The indigenous and Indian populations of South America have traditionally practiced shamanism. Shamanism is a belief system that involves a strong devotion to nature, sacrifices, and ceremonies. Ancient Incas built temples in honor of their gods as a part of this belief system. However, as the Iberians brought their culture and traditions, they began to convert many of the Indians to Roman Catholicism. In fact, around 85% of the continent practices Catholicism. But, many communities combine the elements of their indigenous traditions and practices with the elements of Catholicism, making their specific practice unique. Protestantism is the next prominent faith throughout the continent, and it gained much more popularity throughout the 20th century. Lastly, there exist some Jewish communities, especially in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro.