Antarctica is the southernmost continent on Earth. It is the coldest, driest, windiest, highest (on average) and most isolated continent, with very unique physical and biological characteristics. These fascinating qualities are what draw humans from all over the planet to visit and explore Antarctica, but tourism also contributes to the deterioration of its environment.
Antarctica is also a region very vulnerable to and threatened by climate change. Over the past half-century, there has been a marked warming trend in the Antarctic Peninsula. Much of the rest of Antarctica has cooled during the last 30 years, due to ozone depletion and other factors, but this trend is likely to reverse. Surface waters of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica have warmed and become less saline, and precipitation in this region has increased. A great deal of legislation has been passed all over the world to protect and preserve it. (Source: EPA, NY Times / Photo: Christian Revival Network)