What Types of Things Do Scientists Study in Antarctica?

types-things-scientists-study-antarctica Credit: Frans Lemmens/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Scientists conduct a variety of research in Antarctica, including studies on climate change, astronomy, geology, earth science, marine biology and astrophysics, according to WonderfulAntarctica.com. The continent's forbidding environment, with winter temperatures dropping as low as 76 degrees below zero and summer temperatures rising to approximately 32 F, and its lack of native population make Antarctica a choice location for scientists to study the forces of nature in pure, untouched terrain.

The massive Antarctic Ice Sheet, which has a surface measurement ranging from 1.2 million square miles in the summer months to 7.3 million square miles in winter, holds 70 percent of Earth's fresh water and provides scientists with valuable information regarding ice formation, global warming, the delicate balance of the planet's weather systems and climate change.

Scientists also have a lengthy history of astronomy research in Antarctica. According to University of New South Wales astronomer Michael Burton, Antarctic astronomy studies began in 1912 with the continent's first meteorite discovery. In the unique Antarctic environment, the air is cold, dry and calm, providing scientists with Earth's clearest window into space and enabling them to compile valuable data. Part of a United States research project, the powerful South Pole telescope looks into the cosmos for clues to unlock the mysteries of the formation of the universe.