Antarctica - People
Life forms on the Antarctic continent are sparse because of the severe climate. Antarctica has no indigenous inhabitants, only permanent and summer-only staff at its many research stations.
In 2016, the highest population recorded during the year is just over 4,000. Antarctica's population is comprised mainly of scientific research staff. The number of residents varies, from around 1,100 in the harsh Antarctic winter to around 4,400 in the milder summer months of October to February, plus an additional staff of 1,000 in the nearby waters.
The total number of people entering and leaving Antarctica and US research ships over the course of the summer is about 3,000. The U.S. Antarctic Program peak population at any given moment will be about 1,600 on land and 300 on the ships. Approximately 70 percent of U.S. Antarctic Program science personnel and >90 percent of operations personnel transit New Zealand and McMurdo About one-fourth of science personnel and 10 percent of operations personnel transit South America to Antarctic Peninsula locations.
A total of 53 countries have signed the 1959 Antarctic Treaty; 30 of those operate through their National Antarctic Program a number of seasonal-only (summer) and year-round research stations on the continent and its nearby islands south of 60 degrees south latitude (the region covered by the Antarctic Treaty); the population engaging in and supporting science or managing and protecting the Antarctic region varies from approximately 4,400 in summer to 1,100 in winter; in addition, approximately 1,000 personnel, including ship's crew and scientists doing onboard research, are present in the waters of the treaty region.
The peak summer (December-February) population - 4,490 total; Argentina 667, Australia 200, Australia and Romania jointly 13, Belgium 20, Brazil 40, Bulgaria 18, Chile 359, China 90, Czech Republic 20, Ecuador 26, Finland 20, France 125, France and Italy jointly 60, Germany 90, India 65, Italy 102, Japan 125, South Korea 70, NZ 85, Norway 44, Peru 28, Poland 40, Russia 429, South Africa 80, Spain 50, Sweden 20, Ukraine 24, UK 217, US 1,293, Uruguay 70 (as of 2008-09)
The winter (June-August) station population - 1,106 total; Argentina 176, Australia 62, Brazil 12, Chile 114, China 29, France 26, France and Italy jointly 13, Germany 9, India 25, Japan 40, South Korea 18, NZ 10, Norway 7, Poland 12, Russia 148, South Africa 10, Ukraine 12, UK 37, US 337, Uruguay 9 (2009); research stations operated within the Antarctic Treaty area (south of 60 degrees south latitude) by National Antarctic Programs.
The year-round stations are approximately 40 in number: Argentina 6, Australia 3, Brazil 1, Chile 6, China 2, France 1, France and Italy jointly 1, Germany 1, India 1, Japan 1, South Korea 1, NZ 1, Norway 1, Poland 1, Russia 5, South Africa 1, Ukraine 1, UK 2, US 3, Uruguay 1 (as of 2009).
A range of seasonal-only (summer) stations, camps, and refuges - Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, UK, US, and Uruguay (as of 2008-09). In addition, during the austral summer some nations have numerous occupied locations such as tent camps, summer-long temporary facilities, and mobile traverses in support of research (May 2009 est.)
A total of 36,702 tourists visited the Antarctic Treaty area in the 2014-15 Antarctic summer, slightly lower than the 37,405 visitors in 2013-14. These estimates were provided to the Antarctic Treaty by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and do not include passengers on overflights. Nearly all of them were passengers on commercial (nongovernmental) ships and several yachts that make trips during the summer.
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