Antarctic

An appealing light blue iceberg floats in the nearly black water. The sky is gray and drab.Click to enlarge
The eternal ice is fascinating not only to researchers
Source: Fritz Hertel/UBA

Roald Amundsen said, “We must not cease to remember with gratitude and admiration the first seafarers who navigated their ships through storms and fog to augment our knowledge of the land of ice in the south”. Since discovery of the Antarctic our knowledge of it has grown steadily, and so has our responsibility for this fragile ecosystem.

Why the Antarctic must be protected

The Antarctic is a natural ecosystem which is still largely free from human influence and of great scientific and aesthetic value. The Antarctic perpetual ice not only has a significant influence on global climate patterns, but also documents major stages of Earth’s history and represents important geological and biological evolutive processes. More recently, the Antarctic has also reflected anthropogenic, i.e. man-made, changes. By signing the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, the signatory states undertook to protect and preserve the Antarctic’s original biotic communities and its atmospheric, terrestrial (including aquatic), glacial and marine environments as a common human heritage.

Easy access to information

Even if the Antarctic is a very isolated region and not many people know much about it, there are a lot of interesting facts to learn. On our pages we have compiled numerous information on the white continent for the interested public, potential applicants, media representatives and others.

Discover Antarctica from your home and learn interesting facts about the continent and the Antarctic Ocean that surrounds it. Information on human activities in the region and on how the Antarctic was discovered and explored can be found under “Human presence in the Antarctic”. Details about the legal framework for protection of this special ecosystem are compiled under “Antarctic Treaty System”. The role that UBA plays in this context is described under “The German Environment Agency and the Antarctic”. More activities – especially international ones – have been brought together on “International activities in and around the Antarctic”. Information on possible ways to visit the Antarctic and on how visitors should behave can be found under “Travellers to the Antarctic”. Persons planning a visit to the Antarctic and required to obtain a permit, and those interested in the details of the authorization process should turn to the page “Applying for a permit to travel to the Antarctic”.