top of page
For 2024 Board Exam
CBSE Competency Based Questions:
Class 10
Class 12

Journey To the End of the Earth |CBE Questions | NCERT Solution|Text Translation | Concept Videos

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Lesson Architecture



 


The title ‘Journey to the End of the Earth’, has more than one meaning. It describes an educational journey to Antarctica undertaken by a group of high school students. To learn more about the real impact of global warming and future of the earth 52 students went to the coldest, driest, windiest continent in the world called Antarctica in Russian research vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy.


The author calls it a journey to the end of the earth because it began 13:09 degrees North of Equator in Madras, involved crossing nine time zones, six checkpoints, three oceans and as many ecospheres. She travelled over 100 hours in combination of a car, an aeroplane and a ship.


The journey being to the extreme south of the the earth, was really towards the end of it. Another meaning of this title is more significant as the warnings that Antarctica gives are shocking and much concerning the humanity and the millions of other species on the earth.


The changes taking place in Antarctica are pointing a warning finger at the existence of of the earth; the earth is journeying to its end.



 

Concept Videos


NCERT Official Audio Lectures on Journey to the End of the Earth




Mystery of Antarctica


Tales from the End of the World


Introduction to Plate Tectonics



Text Translation in Easy English

 



Text ( Page 18/Para 1)


If you want to know more about the planet’s past, present

and future, the Antarctica is the place to go to. Bon Voyage!


EARLY this year, I found myself aboard a Russian research vessel — the Akademik Shokalskiy — heading towards the coldest, driest, windiest continent in the world: Antarctica. My journey began 13.09 degrees north of the Equator in Madras, and involved crossing nine time zones, six checkpoints, three bodies of water, and at least as many ecospheres.

Easy English Translation

If you want to learn more about the history, current conditions, and what might happen in the future on our planet, Antarctica is the perfect place to visit. Have a great trip!


Earlier this year, I went on an adventure aboard a Russian research ship called the Akademik Shokalskiy. Our destination was Antarctica, which is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent in the world. My journey started in Madras, which is 13.09 degrees north of the Equator. It involved traveling through nine different time zones, passing six checkpoints, crossing three bodies of water, and experiencing at least as many different environments.


Glossary:

13.09 degrees north of the Equator :

  • The Equator is an imaginary line that divides the Earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Latitude is the measurement of distance north or south of the Equator, and it is expressed in degrees.

  • When someone mentions a location as "13.09 degrees north of the Equator," it means that the place is situated approximately 13.09 degrees of latitude north of the Equator.

  • This indicates that it is in the Northern Hemisphere, and the higher the value of latitude, the closer the location is to the North Pole.



Text ( Page 18/Para 2)

By the time I actually set foot on the Antarctic continent I had been travelling over 100 hours in combination of a car, an aeroplane and a ship; so, my first emotion on facing Antarctica’s expansive white landscape and uninterrupted blue horizon was relief, followed up with an immediate and profound wonder. Wonder at its immensity, its isolation, but mainly at how there could ever have been a time when India and Antarctica were part of the same landmass.

Easy English Translation

Before I finally arrived on the Antarctic continent, I had been traveling for more than 100 hours using a car, an airplane, and a ship. So, when I saw Antarctica's vast white landscape and never-ending blue horizon, my first feeling was relief, followed by an immediate and deep sense of amazement. I was amazed by its enormous size, its isolation, and most of all, by the fact that there was once a time when India and Antarctica were connected as part of the same landmass.



Text ( Page 19/Para 1)

Part of history Six hundred and fifty million years ago, a giant amalgamated southern supercontinent Gondwana — did indeed exist, centred roughly around the present-day Antarctica. Things were quite different then: humans hadn’t arrived on the global scene, and the climate was much warmer, hosting a huge variety of flora and fauna. For 500 million years Gondwana thrived, but around the time when the dinosaurs were wiped out and the age of the mammals got under way, the landmass was forced to separate into countries, shaping the globe much as we know it today.


Easy English Translation

Around 650 million years ago, there was a massive supercontinent called Gondwana that existed in the southern part of the Earth, with its center roughly around present-day Antarctica. At that time, the world was very different from what it is today: humans had not yet appeared, and the climate was much warmer, supporting a wide variety of plants and animals.


Gondwana existed and thrived for about 500 million years. However, around the time when dinosaurs disappeared from the Earth, and the age of mammals began, the supercontinent started breaking apart into separate landmasses, which eventually shaped the world as we know it today, with different countries and continents scattered across the globe.


Glossary:

a giant amalgamated southern supercontinent:

  • A "giant amalgamated southern supercontinent" refers to a massive landmass formed by the merging and joining together of several smaller continental blocks in the southern part of the Earth. In the context of the passage, this supercontinent is called Gondwana.


  • ''Supercontinent" indicates that it was a vast and significant landmass that included present-day South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, the Indian subcontinent, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

Gondwana

  • Gondwana existed around 650 million years ago and played a crucial role in shaping the Earth's geological history. Over time, due to the movement of tectonic plates, Gondwana began to break apart, eventually giving rise to the continents we know today.


  • Gondwana was a massive supercontinent that existed in Earth's geological past, approximately 650 to 180 million years ago. It was one of the most significant landmasses in history, and its name comes from the Gondwana region in central India, where rocks from this ancient supercontinent were first studied.


  • The splitting of Gondwana had a profound impact on the evolution of life on Earth. It played a significant role in the distribution of species across different continents, influencing biodiversity and shaping the natural history of our planet.


  • Today, the remnants of Gondwana's geological heritage can be seen in the similarities between the rocks, fossils, and geological structures found in the continents it once encompassed.




Text ( Page 18/Para 2)

To visit Antarctica now is to be a part of that history; to get a grasp of where we’ve come from and where we could possibly be heading. It’s to understand the significance of Cordilleran folds and pre-Cambrian granite shields; ozone and carbon; evolution and extinction. When you think about all that can happen in a million years, it can get pretty mind-boggling. Imagine: India pushing northwards, jamming against Asia to buckle its crust and form the Himalayas; South America drifting off to join North America, opening up the Drake Passage to create a cold circumpolar current, keeping Antarctica frigid, desolate, and at the bottom of the world.


Easy English Translation

Visiting Antarctica today allows you to be a part of that fascinating history and gain insights into where we have come from and where we might be heading in the future. It helps you understand the significance of geological features like Cordilleran folds and pre-Cambrian granite shields, the importance of factors like ozone and carbon, and the concepts of evolution and extinction.


When you contemplate the vast span of time, such as a million years, it can be truly mind-boggling. For instance, you can imagine how India gradually moved northwards, pushing against Asia, and causing the Earth's crust to buckle, forming the majestic Himalayas. Similarly, South America drifted away from North America, creating the Drake Passage and a cold circumpolar current that keeps Antarctica icy, desolate, and located at the bottom of the world.


Antarctica's history is intertwined with the geological forces and natural processes that have shaped our planet over millions of years. Visiting this unique continent offers an extraordinary opportunity to appreciate the dynamic and ever-changing nature of Earth's geological and environmental history.

Glossary


Cordilleran folds


Cordilleran folds are geological features that are a result of tectonic forces causing rocks in the Earth's crust to bend and fold. These folds are found in the Cordillera, a major mountain range system in North America extending from Alaska to Central America.


The Cordilleran folds formed due to the collision between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. As these plates move towards each other, the rocks on the leading edge of the North American Plate are subjected to pressure, causing them to buckle and fold. This process creates large mountain ranges like the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Mountains.


Cordilleran folds have shaped the landscape of the region, creating diverse terrains with steep slopes, deep valleys, and high peaks. They are important for various activities such as agriculture, mining, and tourism, and they provide valuable insights into the Earth's geological history.


Pre-Cambrian granite shields


  • Pre-Cambrian granite shields are ancient geological formations that consist of granite rocks and are some of the oldest and most stable parts of the Earth's crust. They date back to the Pre-Cambrian era, which is the earliest and longest period of Earth's history, lasting from about 4.6 billion years ago to around 541 million years ago.


  • These granite shields are found in various regions around the world, often forming large, exposed areas of rocky landscapes. They are known for their resilience and resistance to erosion, which is why they have endured for billions of years.


Drake Passage

  • The Drake Passage is a narrow body of water that lies between the southernmost tip of South America (Cape Horn) and the northernmost part of the Antarctic Peninsula. It connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, and it is one of the most significant oceanic passages on Earth.

  • The Drake Passage is known for its challenging and often treacherous conditions, characterized by strong winds, rough seas, and intense currents. The absence of any substantial landmass in the area allows for unobstructed water flow, making it a crucial region for the circulation of ocean currents around Antarctica. These currents play a crucial role in regulating the Earth's climate by distributing heat and nutrients throughout the global ocean system.

  • The passage is named after Sir Francis Drake, the English explorer, who is believed to be the first European to navigate these waters in the late 16th century. Today, the Drake Passage is an essential route for ships and scientific research vessels traveling between South America and Antarctica, allowing access to the remote continent and its surrounding waters. Many expeditions and scientific missions pass through the Drake Passage to study Antarctica's unique ecosystem and climate patterns.

Circumpolar current

  • The circumpolar current, also known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), is a vast ocean current that flows around Antarctica. It encircles the continent in a west-to-east direction, connecting the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Driven by strong winds and cooling near Antarctica, it plays a crucial role in global ocean circulation, climate patterns, and marine ecosystems.

  • The circumpolar current acts as a barrier, preventing warm waters from reaching Antarctica's ice shelves and maintaining the frigid temperature of the continent.

Text ( Page 19/Para 2)


For a sun-worshipping South Indian like myself, two weeks in a place where 90 per cent of the Earth’s total ice volumes are stored is a chilling prospect (not just for circulatory and metabolic functions, but also for the imagination). It’s like walking into a giant ping-pong bal devoid of any human markers — no trees, billboards, buildings. You lose all earthly sense of perspective and time here. The visual scale ranges from the microscopic to the mighty: midges and mites to blue whales and icebergs as big as countries (the largest recorded was the size of Belgium). Days go on and on and on in surreal 24-hour austral summer light, and a ubiquitous silence, interrupted only by the occasional avalanche or calving ice sheet, consecrates the place. It’s an immersion that will force you to place yourself in the context of the earth’s geological history. And for humans, the prognosis isn’t good.


Easy English Translation


As a person from South India who loves the warmth of the sun, spending two weeks in a place where 90 percent of the Earth's total ice volumes are stored can be quite a chilling and intimidating experience. It's not just a challenge for our body's circulation and metabolism, but also for our imagination. It's like entering a vast, featureless space, similar to a giant ping-pong ball, with no human markers like trees, billboards, or buildings. Here, you lose all sense of earthly perspective and time.


In Antarctica, everything you see ranges from the tiniest creatures like midges and mites to magnificent giants like blue whales and icebergs as large as countries (some as big as Belgium). The days seem to stretch on endlessly in the surreal 24-hour light of the austral summer, and there's a constant, all-encompassing silence, occasionally broken by the sound of avalanches or calving ice sheets.


Being in this place makes you truly immerse yourself in the context of the Earth's geological history. It forces you to understand that human presence is minimal compared to the vastness of time and the natural world. Unfortunately, when considering the future for humans, the outlook isn't promising in the face of climate change and environmental challenges. Antarctica's stark beauty and isolation serve as a stark reminder of the delicate balance of our planet's ecosystem and the need for responsible stewardship to preserve it for future generations.


Glossary:

It’s like walking into a giant ping-pong bal devoid of any human markers


  • The speaker is comparing the experience of being in a specific location to the feeling one would have if they were walking into a giant ping-pong ball. In this context, "giant ping-pong ball" is used to emphasize the vastness and the sense of being enclosed or surrounded by something immense and featureless.


  • The phrase "devoid of any human markers" means that there are no signs of human presence or activity in that place. It suggests that the location is completely untouched and uninhabited by humans, lacking any man-made structures or signs of civilization.


  • Overall, the sentence conveys the idea of entering a massive and desolate space where there are no human traces, possibly evoking feelings of isolation, awe, or a sense of being disconnected from the familiar human world.

Days go on and on and on in surreal 24-hour austral summer light


  • The phrase "Days go on and on and on in surreal 24-hour austral summer light" describes an extraordinary aspect of the Antarctic region during the austral summer.


  • In the southern hemisphere, the austral summer refers to the period when Antarctica experiences its warmest months, usually from December to February. During this time, there are long periods of continuous daylight, known as the "midnight sun" phenomenon. The sun remains visible for 24 hours a day, without setting below the horizon.


  • The phrase "Days go on and on and on" highlights the duration of the daylight hours during the austral summer in Antarctica. Unlike other parts of the world where the sun rises and sets daily, in Antarctica, it remains above the horizon, creating an uninterrupted stream of daylight that extends for weeks.


  • The word "surreal" suggests that this phenomenon is highly unusual and dreamlike, as it defies the typical diurnal cycle that most people experience.

  • It is an awe-inspiring and disorienting experience for visitors, as they can continue their activities under the constant illumination of daylight, and traditional concepts of day and night blur.

It’s an immersion that will force you to place yourself in the context of the earth’s geological history.


  • In brief, this sentence means that visiting Antarctica is a deeply engrossing experience that compels you to consider and understand the Earth's geological history.

  • Being in this remote and ancient continent immerses you in the wonders of its unique environment, making you reflect on the immense timescales and geological processes that have shaped the planet over millions of years.

  • It fosters a sense of connection to the Earth's past and the importance of preserving and comprehending its natural history.

  • Being in such an ancient and isolated place prompts you to think about how the planet has evolved over millions of years, the movement of tectonic plates, the formation of mountains and ice, and other geological processes that have shaped the Earth's surface.

And for humans, the prognosis isn’t good.

  • In simpler terms, it indicates that considering the current state of the Earth's climate and the impact of human actions on the environment, the prospects or future consequences for humans may not be positive.

  • It implies that there are serious concerns about how human activities, such as climate change, pollution, and other environmental issues, may affect the well-being and sustainability of the human species and the planet as a whole.

  • The sentence serves as a cautionary note, urging us to be mindful of the impact we have on the Earth and to take actions to address environmental issues for a better future.

Text ( Page 20/Para 1)


Human impact

Human civilisations have been around for a paltry 12,000 years — barely a few seconds on the geological clock. In that short amount of time, we’ve managed to create quite a ruckus, etching our dominance over Nature with our villages, towns, cities, megacities. The rapid increase of human populations has left us battling with other species for limited resources, and the unmitigated burning of fossil fuels has now created a blanket of carbon dioxide around the world, which is slowly but surely increasing the average global temperature.


Easy English Translation


Human civilizations have only existed for a relatively short time, just around 12,000 years. That's like only a few seconds compared to the long history of the Earth. In this short period, we have made a lot of noise and changes to the natural world. We built villages, towns, cities, and huge megacities, showing our dominance over nature.


However, our fast-growing population has led to competition with other species for limited resources. Also, our excessive burning of fossil fuels has caused a build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is gradually raising the average temperature of the planet, causing global warming. It means the Earth is getting hotter overall.

Glossary

barely a few seconds on the geological clock

"Barely a few seconds on the geological clock" means that in the context of Earth's long history, the time human civilizations have been around is extremely short and insignificant. It emphasizes the brevity of human existence compared to the vast timescales of geological processes that have shaped the planet over millions of years.


We’ve managed to create quite a ruckus, etching our dominance over Nature


In brief, the phrase "we've managed to create quite a ruckus, etching our dominance over Nature" means that humans have caused significant disruption and chaos, asserting their control and superiority over the natural world.


The phrase serves as a reminder of the responsibility we have to be mindful of our actions and strive for more sustainable and harmonious interactions with the natural world.


a blanket of carbon dioxide around the world


"A blanket of carbon dioxide around the world" refers to the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere. This greenhouse gas, released primarily from human activities like burning fossil fuels and deforestation, accumulates in the atmosphere and acts like a blanket, trapping heat from the sun. This leads to the greenhouse effect, which causes the planet to warm up, resulting in global warming and climate change.


Do you Know What is Geological Clock?


The "geological clock" is a metaphorical concept used to represent the vast timescales and history of Earth's geological processes. It refers to the idea that the Earth's history can be imagined as a clock, where each minute or hour represents millions or billions of years.


Geological processes, such as the formation of mountains, the shifting of tectonic plates, the deposition of sedimentary layers, and the evolution of life forms, have occurred over incredibly long periods of time. By using the metaphor of a clock, scientists and geologists can better comprehend the slow and gradual changes that have shaped the Earth's surface and its ecosystems throughout its history.


For example, when we talk about human civilizations existing for around 12,000 years, it's just a tiny fraction of the geological clock, which has been ticking for billions of years. The geological clock allows us to understand the immense timescales involved in Earth's history and the slow but significant processes that have shaped the planet into what it is today.


Text ( Page 20/Para 2)

Climate change is one of the most hotly contested environmental debates of our time. Will the West Antarctic ice sheet melt entirely? Will the Gulf Stream ocean current be disrupted? Will it be the end of the world as we know it? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, Antarctica is a crucial element in this debate — not just because it’s the only place in the world, which has never sustained a human population and therefore remains relatively ‘pristine’ in this respect; but more importantly, because it holds in its ice-cores half-million-year-old carbon records trapped in its layers of ice. If we want to study and examine the Earth’s past, present and future, Antarctica is the place to go.


Easy English Translation


Climate change is a big topic of discussion about the environment nowadays. People argue and debate about it a lot. They wonder if the huge West Antarctic ice sheet will completely melt. They worry about the Gulf Stream ocean current getting disrupted. Some even fear it might mean the end of the world as we know it. But we don't know for sure. Antarctica, however, plays a vital role in this discussion. It's crucial because it's the only place on Earth where humans have never lived, making it relatively untouched. But what's even more important is that Antarctica's ice holds ancient carbon records that go back half a million years. By studying these ice-cores, we can learn about the Earth's past, understand the present, and even predict the future. So, if we want to know more about our planet's history and what lies ahead, Antarctica is the perfect place to explore.

Glossary

Will the West Antarctic ice sheet melt entirely? Will the Gulf Stream ocean current be disrupted? Will it be the end of the world as we know it?


All these questions revolve around the potential consequences of climate change and its impacts on the Earth's environment.


1. Will the West Antarctic ice sheet melt entirely?

The West Antarctic ice sheet is a vast mass of ice that covers a significant portion of the Antarctic continent. It contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by several meters if it were to melt entirely. This has raised concerns among scientists and policymakers because the melting of this ice sheet could have severe implications for coastal areas around the world, leading to flooding and displacement of millions of people. However, the rate and extent of the ice sheet's melting are still uncertain and the subject of ongoing scientific research.


2. Will the Gulf Stream ocean current be disrupted?

The Gulf Stream is a powerful ocean current that carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico across the Atlantic Ocean, influencing weather patterns and climate in regions along its path, including Europe. There is evidence that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and increased freshwater input into the North Atlantic could potentially disrupt the Gulf Stream. If the Gulf Stream were to weaken or change its course significantly, it could have profound impacts on regional climates, ocean ecosystems, and weather patterns in the affected areas.


3. Will it be the end of the world as we know it?

This question is a more generalized and dramatic expression of concern about the potential consequences of climate change. While it is not likely that climate change will lead to the literal end of the world, it does raise valid concerns about the far-reaching impacts on the Earth's ecosystems, biodiversity, human societies, and economies. Climate change is a complex and multi-faceted issue that can exacerbate existing problems like extreme weather events, sea-level rise, food and water shortages, and disruptions to ecosystems. These changes could have significant consequences for human well-being and the planet's overall health.


it holds in its ice-cores half-million-year-old carbon records trapped in its layers of ice.

Ice-cores are cylindrical samples of ice drilled from the glaciers and ice sheets of Antarctica. These ice-cores serve as historical records of the Earth's climate and atmospheric conditions over an exceptionally long time span.


The phrase "half-million-year-old carbon records" means that the ice-cores contain traces of carbon and other substances that have accumulated over the course of half a million years. As snow falls on Antarctica, it traps tiny air bubbles and various particles from the atmosphere. As more layers of snow accumulate, they compress and turn into ice, preserving these air bubbles and particles within the ice layers. These air bubbles serve as time capsules that hold the atmospheric composition of the past, including the concentration of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2).


The study of ice-cores from Antarctica has been instrumental in confirming the reality of human-induced climate change and its implications for the Earth's future. These ice-cores serve as an essential tool for climate researchers and policymakers to understand the long-term patterns of climate variability and the urgency of taking action to address the current global warming trend caused by human activities.


Text ( Page 21/Para 1)

Students on Ice, the programme I was working with on the Shokalskiy, aims to do exactly this by taking high school students to the ends of the world and providing them with inspiring educational opportunities which will help them foster a new understanding and respect for our planet. It’s been in operation for six years now, headed by Canadian Geoff Green, who got tired of carting celebrities and retired, rich, curiosity-seekers who could only ‘give’ back in a limited way. With Students on Ice, he offers the future generation of policy-makers a life-changing experience at an age when they’re ready to absorb, learn, and most importantly, act.

Easy English Translation

Students on Ice is a program that takes high school students to remote and exciting places in the world, like Antarctica, to give them a chance to learn and be inspired. The goal is to help them understand and appreciate our planet better. This program has been running for six years and is led by a Canadian named Geoff Green. He started this program because he was tired of taking rich and famous people on trips, as they could only give back in a limited way. With Students on Ice, he wants to give young people, who will become future leaders and decision-makers, a life-changing experience while they are still at an age to absorb, learn, and take action.

Glossary/ Resource for CBE-Based Question

Students on Ice, the programme I was working with on the Shokalskiy, aims to do exactly this by taking high school students to the ends of the world and providing them with inspiring educational opportunities which will help them foster a new understanding and respect for our planet.


The sentence is describing the purpose and objectives of the "Students on Ice" program, which the speaker was involved with while working on the ship named "Shokalskiy." The program's main goal is to take high school students on journeys to remote and extreme places in the world, referred to as "the ends of the world." During these expeditions, the students are provided with educational opportunities that are inspiring and transformative.


The program aims to achieve two significant outcomes:


1. Foster a New Understanding: By exposing the students to these unique and challenging environments, the program seeks to broaden their knowledge and awareness of the Earth's diverse and delicate ecosystems. It encourages the students to explore and appreciate the natural world in a way they might not have experienced before.


2. Develop Respect for Our Planet: Through these inspiring educational opportunities, the program also aims to instill in the students a deep sense of respect and care for the planet. By witnessing firsthand the beauty and vulnerability of remote environments, the students are encouraged to become responsible stewards of the Earth, actively participating in its conservation and protection.


In essence, "Students on Ice" strives to provide young learners with eye-opening experiences in some of the most pristine and challenging environments on Earth. By doing so, it aspires to cultivate a new generation of environmentally conscious individuals who will value, respect, and protect our planet for the future.


Text ( Page 21/Para 2)

The reason the programme has been so successful is because it’s impossible to go anywhere near the South Pole and not be affected by it. It’s easy to be blasé about polar ice-caps melting while sitting in the comfort zone of our respective latitude and longitude, but when you can visibly see glaciers retreating and ice shelves collapsing, you begin to realise that the threat of global warming is very real.

Easy English Translation

The program's success is due to the fact that it's impossible to visit anywhere close to the South Pole without being profoundly impacted by it. While sitting comfortably at our own locations, we may take the melting polar ice caps lightly, but witnessing glaciers shrinking and ice shelves collapsing firsthand makes us realize that global warming is a genuine and immediate threat.

Glossary/ Resource for CBE-Based Question

It’s easy to be blasé about polar ice-caps melting while sitting in the comfort zone of our respective latitude and longitude..


The sentence highlights a common human tendency to be indifferent or nonchalant about the melting of polar ice-caps when one is in a comfortable and relatively unaffected location. It points out that people who live far away from the polar regions, in places with milder climates and no direct consequences of melting ice-caps, may not fully grasp the urgency and significance of this environmental issue.


Blasé Attitude: The term "blasé" means being unimpressed, unconcerned, or apathetic about something. In the context of the sentence, it refers to the attitude some individuals might adopt regarding the melting of polar ice-caps. Since they are not directly experiencing the consequences of climate change, they may not fully appreciate the seriousness of the issue or the urgency to take action.


Respective Latitude and Longitude: "Respective latitude and longitude" indicates that each person's location on the Earth's surface has different climatic conditions and geographical characteristics. It means people are situated at various distances from the polar regions, and therefore, their experiences with climate change may differ significantly.


The sentence serves as a call to recognize the importance of considering the broader global implications of melting polar ice-caps and the need for collective action to address climate change, even for those who may not experience its direct effects in their immediate surroundings. Understanding the interconnectedness of the Earth's climate system is essential in tackling the challenges posed by climate change and protecting the planet for future generations.

Text ( Page 21/Para 3)

Antarctica, because of her simple ecosystem and lack of biodiversity, is the perfect place to study how little changes in the environment can have big repercussions. Take the microscopic phytoplankton — those grasses of the sea that nourish and sustain the entire Southern Ocean’s food chain. These single-celled plants use the sun’s energy to assimilate carbon and synthesise organic compounds in that wondrous and most important of processes called photosynthesis. Scientists warn that a further depletion in the ozone layer will affect the activities of phytoplankton, which in turn will affect the lives of all the marine animals and birds of the region, and the global carbon cycle. In the parable of the phytoplankton, there is a great metaphor for existence: take care of the small things and the big things will fall into place.

Easy English Translation

Antarctica is a great place to study how small changes in the environment can have significant impacts because its ecosystem is simple and lacks biodiversity. One example is the microscopic phytoplankton, tiny plants in the ocean that play a vital role in sustaining the entire food chain in the Southern Ocean. These small plants use the sun's energy to absorb carbon and create essential organic compounds through a process called photosynthesis.


Scientists warn that if the ozone layer continues to deplete, it will affect the activities of phytoplankton. This, in turn, will impact the lives of marine animals and birds in the region, as well as the global carbon cycle. The lesson from the phytoplankton story is a metaphor for life: if we take care of the small things, the bigger things in our environment will fall into place. It emphasizes the importance of protecting and preserving even the tiniest parts of our ecosystem to maintain a healthy and balanced world.

Glossary

Antarctica, because of her simple ecosystem and lack of biodiversity, is the perfect place to study how little changes in the environment can have big repercussions. Take the microscopic phytoplankton — those grasses of the sea that nourish and sustain the entire Southern Ocean’s food chain.

Antarctica is an ideal location for studying the impact of small environmental changes due to its unique characteristics, particularly its simple ecosystem and limited biodiversity. These features provide a controlled and clear environment to observe how even minor alterations can lead to significant consequences.


1. Simple Ecosystem: Antarctica's ecosystem is relatively straightforward compared to other regions on Earth. It has fewer species and ecological interactions, making it easier for scientists to understand the cause-and-effect relationships within the ecosystem. This simplicity allows researchers to isolate and study specific components and their responses to changes in the environment.


2. Lack of Biodiversity: The biodiversity in Antarctica is limited due to its extreme cold and harsh conditions. Only a few species of plants and animals can survive in this challenging environment. This limited biodiversity further simplifies the ecosystem, allowing scientists to focus on key species and their ecological roles.


3. Microscopic Phytoplankton: The sentence specifically mentions "microscopic phytoplankton," which are tiny, single-celled plants found in the ocean. Despite their small size, phytoplankton play a crucial role in the marine ecosystem. They are primary producers, using sunlight and nutrients to undergo photosynthesis and produce organic matter, acting as the foundation of the food chain.


4. Nourishing the Southern Ocean's Food Chain: Phytoplankton serve as the primary food source for many marine organisms in the Southern Ocean. Zooplankton, small animals that consume phytoplankton, are then eaten by larger marine creatures, creating a complex food web that sustains life in the region.


By studying phytoplankton in Antarctica, scientists can gain insights into how changes in environmental conditions, such as temperature, light availability, and nutrient levels, impact these essential microscopic organisms. Even slight changes in these factors can influence the growth and distribution of phytoplankton, which, in turn, affects the entire food chain in the Southern Ocean.


The study of Antarctica's simple ecosystem and phytoplankton offers valuable lessons about the interconnectedness of life on our planet and the importance of taking proactive measures to protect and conserve the environment for future generations.

Text ( Page 22/Para 1)

Walk on the ocean

My Antarctic experience was full of such epiphanies, but the best occurred just short of the Antarctic Circle at 65.55 degrees south. The Shokalskiy had managed to wedge herself into a thick white stretch of ice between the peninsula and Tadpole Island which was preventing us from going any further. The Captain decided we were going to turn around and head back north, but before we did, we were all instructed to climb down the gangplank and walk on the ocean. So there we were, all 52 of us, kitted out in Gore-Tex and glares, walking on a stark whiteness that seemed to spread out forever. Underneath our feet was a metre-thick ice pack, and underneath that, 180 metres of living, breathing, salt water. In the periphery Crabeater seals were stretching and sunning themselves on ice floes much like stray dogs will do under the shade of a banyan tree. It was nothing short of a revelation: everything does indeed connect.

Easy English Translation

During my time in Antarctica, I had many eye-opening moments, but the best one happened just before reaching the Antarctic Circle at 65.55 degrees south. The ship I was on, the Shokalskiy, got stuck in thick ice between the peninsula and Tadpole Island, preventing us from going further. The Captain decided to turn back north, but before doing so, we were told to get off the ship and walk on the ocean!


All 52 of us, dressed in special waterproof clothes and sunglasses, stepped out onto a vast expanse of pure white ice that seemed to stretch on forever. Underneath our feet was a layer of ice about one meter thick, and below that, there were 180 meters of living, breathing, salty water. We could see Crabeater seals relaxing and basking in the sun on ice floats, just like stray dogs find shade under a banyan tree.


This experience was truly amazing and made me realize something important: everything in nature is connected. The ice we walked on, the water below it, the seals on the ice, and even us humans, are all part of the same intricate web of life. It was a powerful revelation that showed me the interdependence of all living things and the significance of our actions in preserving this delicate balance in our world.

Glossary:

My Antarctic experience was full of such epiphanies, but the best occurred just short of the Antarctic Circle at 65.55 degrees south.

The sentence describes the speaker's experiences during their time in Antarctica and highlights a particularly profound and meaningful moment that happened near the Antarctic Circle at 65.55 degrees south.


1. Antarctic Experience: The speaker is reflecting on their overall experiences in Antarctica, suggesting that their time in this remote and extreme region was filled with significant moments and realizations.


2. Epiphanies: The word "epiphanies" refers to sudden and profound insights or revelations. It indicates that the speaker had moments of deep understanding or enlightenment during their Antarctic journey.


3. Near the Antarctic Circle: The Antarctic Circle is an imaginary line at approximately 66.5 degrees south latitude, marking the southernmost point where the sun is visible during the winter solstice and invisible during the summer solstice. The speaker's experience took place just short of this significant geographic marker, indicating that they were deep in the southern polar region.


The sentence sets the stage for a story or reflection on the speaker's remarkable journey in Antarctica. It suggests that something extraordinary and life-changing occurred during their time near the Antarctic Circle, and it is likely that the following context will provide more details about this profound moment and its impact on the speaker's perspective and understanding.


wedge herself into a thick white stretch of ice between the peninsula and Tadpole Island

The sentence provides a description of a situation during the speaker's journey on the ship named "Shokalskiy" in Antarctica. The ship had encountered a challenging obstacle in the form of a thick expanse of white ice that was wedged between the peninsula and Tadpole Island. This ice barrier was preventing the ship from proceeding further on its intended route.


1. The Shokalskiy: The Shokalskiy is the name of the ship that the speaker was on during her Antarctic expedition. It is a vessel used for scientific research and exploration in polar regions.


2. Wedged into Thick White Ice: The phrase "wedged into" means that the ship had become stuck or trapped within the ice. The "thick white ice" refers to a massive and dense expanse of ice covering the surrounding waters, creating a formidable barrier for the ship's progress.


3. Between the Peninsula and Tadpole Island: The ship was positioned in a location situated between the Antarctic Peninsula and Tadpole Island. The Antarctic Peninsula is a long stretch of land extending from Antarctica towards South America, while Tadpole Island is a specific geographical feature in the vicinity.


The sentence sets the stage for a potential tale of adventure and challenges faced during the expedition. The encounter with the thick ice creates a sense of suspense and anticipation for the reader, as they might wonder how the crew and passengers on the Shokalskiy would overcome this obstacle and continue their journey in the frozen and challenging Antarctic environment.

we were all instructed to climb down the gangplank and walk on the ocean.

The sentence describes a unique and extraordinary moment during the Antarctic expedition where all the people on board the ship (including the speaker) were given specific instructions to participate in a remarkable activity.


1. Climb Down the Gangplank: The gangplank is a movable bridge or ramp used to embark or disembark from a ship. In this case, the instruction was for everyone on the ship to "climb down the gangplank," which means they were to descend from the ship onto a particular location outside.


2. Walk on the Ocean: The surprising and unusual instruction was to "walk on the ocean." This might initially seem perplexing, as walking on water is not something humans can ordinarily do. However, in this context, it means that the location where the ship was situated had a thick layer of ice covering the ocean's surface.


kitted out in Gore-Tex and glares..

The sentence paints a vivid picture of the scene during the Antarctic expedition. It describes the moment when all 52 people on board the ship were standing on the vast expanse of ice, dressed in special gear, and surrounded by an endless sea of brilliant white.


Kitted Out in Gore-Tex and Glares: Kitted out" means that everyone was fully equipped or dressed in specialized clothing and gear. "Gore-Tex" is a high-performance fabric often used in outdoor clothing, known for its water-resistance and breathability, making it suitable for extreme weather conditions like those in Antarctica. "Glares" refer to sunglasses or protective eyewear to shield the eyes from the intense glare of the sun reflecting off the ice.


Crabeater seals were stretching and sunning themselves on ice floes

The sentence provides a captivating image of the Antarctic surroundings, specifically describing the presence of Crabeater seals and drawing a comparison to stray dogs seeking shade under a banyan tree.


1. Crabeater Seals: The sentence mentions "Crabeater seals," which are a species of seals commonly found in the Antarctic region. Despite their name, these seals primarily feed on krill, a small shrimp-like crustacean, rather than crabs.


2. In the Periphery: The term "periphery" refers to the outer edges or surrounding area. In this context, it means that the Crabeater seals were seen at the outskirts or on the fringes of the main area where the group of people was walking on the ice.


3. Stretching and Sunning Themselves: The seals were observed stretching their bodies and sunning themselves on ice floes. Sunning is a common behavior among seals to warm themselves under the sunlight, as the Antarctic sun can be quite intense, despite the cold temperatures.


4. Similar to Stray Dogs: The sentence draws a comparison between the behavior of the Crabeater seals and that of stray dogs seeking shade under a banyan tree. This analogy emphasizes how the seals are engaging in a behavior that mirrors what one might observe in a different context, with dogs seeking shade to escape from the heat.


The sentence beautifully juxtaposes the serene image of the seals relaxing on ice floes with the relatable behavior of dogs seeking shade under a tree, which creates a sense of connection between different aspects of nature. It highlights the fascinating and often surprising similarities between the behaviors of animals in different environments and underscores the shared experiences and instincts that exist across diverse species. The vivid imagery paints a captivating picture of the Antarctic landscape and the diverse life that thrives in this extreme and mesmerizing region.

It was nothing short of a revelation: everything does indeed connect.

The sentence expresses a powerful revelation or realization experienced by the speaker during their time in Antarctica. This moment left a profound impact on them, leading them to recognize the interconnectedness of everything in nature.


1. Nothing Short of a Revelation: The use of the phrase "nothing short of a revelation" indicates that the experience was incredibly significant and eye-opening for the speaker. It was not a minor realization but a profound and transformative moment.


2. Everything Does Indeed Connect: The core message of the sentence is that the speaker came to understand that everything in nature is interconnected. The experiences and occurrences in one part of the environment can have ripple effects and connections that extend far beyond that specific location.


The sentence encapsulates a moment of deep insight and understanding, where the speaker perceives the intricate and delicate web of connections that bind all living things and natural processes together. It suggests that the diverse elements of the Antarctic ecosystem—the ice, the seals, the phytoplankton, and more—are all part of a complex and harmonious whole. Moreover, this realization is not limited to just the Antarctic environment; it can be applied to the entire planet.


The concept of interconnectedness in nature is an essential theme in ecology and environmental science. It highlights that actions or changes in one part of the world can have far-reaching consequences for other regions and species. Understanding this interdependence emphasizes the need for responsible stewardship of the Earth and the recognition that our actions can have both positive and negative impacts on the delicate balance of the natural world.


Text ( Page 22/Para 2)

Nine time zones, six checkpoints, three bodies of water and many ecospheres later, I was still wondering about the beauty of balance in play on our planet. How would it be if Antarctica were to become the warm place that it once used to be? Will we be around to see it, or would we have gone the way of the dinosaurs, mammoths and woolly rhinos? Who’s to say? But after spending two weeks with a bunch of teenagers who still have the idealism to save the world, all I can say is that a lot can happen in a million years, but what a difference a day makes!

Easy English Translation

After traveling through nine time zones, passing six checkpoints, crossing three bodies of water, and exploring various ecospheres, I continued to be amazed by the delicate balance present on our planet. I couldn't help but wonder: what if Antarctica returned to the warm place it once was? Would we be here to witness it, or would humanity have disappeared, similar to the fate of the dinosaurs, mammoths, and woolly rhinos? It's hard to predict. However, spending two weeks with enthusiastic teenagers who still believe in saving the world made me realize that a lot can change over a million years, but even a single day can make a significant difference!

Glossary

beauty of balance in play on our planet.

suggests that the speaker is contemplating the harmonious coexistence and interdependence of the Earth's ecosystems. Despite the various landscapes and environments encountered during the journey, the speaker is struck by the beauty of how everything seems to work together in a delicate balance.

How would it be if Antarctica were to become the warm place that it once used to be?

It is essential to recognize that the scenario of Antarctica becoming warm again is purely speculative. Currently, the planet is experiencing global warming due to human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This anthropogenic global warming is leading to the melting of polar ice and significant climate changes worldwide.

 

NCERT Solution


Q1. How do geological phenomena help us to know about the history of humankind? ( Page 19)


Ans: The geological phenomena of separating various continents and water bodies from one compact landmass indicate the age of existence of human race. Six hundred-and -fifty million years ago, no human race existed on the earth because the environment was not conducive to existence of life. After dinosaurs were wiped out, the mammals started existing and after the separation of landmass, the human race started flourishing on the earth.


Q2. What are the indications for the future of humankind? ( Page 20)


The future of the humankind is in danger in the likely event of the the emission of carbon -dioxide and other poisonous gases . These gases deplete the ozone layer thus allowing the ultra-violet rays of the sun to enter the earth's environment. This gives rise to global warming. Increased temperature is likely to melt the ice of the Antarctica causing further damage to the environment vis-a-vis future of human kind.


Reading with Insight ( Page 23)


1. The world's geological history is trapped in Antarctica. How is the study of this region useful to us?


Ans: Antarctica is the only place in the world which has never sustained a human population. It thus remains relatively 'pristine' in this respect. But most importantly it holds in its ice-cores, half-million-year-old carbon records trapped in its layer of ice. Secondly, Antarctica has her simple ecosystem and lack of biodiversity. It is , therefore, the perfect place to study how little changes in the environment can have big repercussions. The microscopic phytoplanktons, nourish and sustain the entire Southern Ocean's food chain. These single-celled plants use the sun's energy to assimilate carbon and synthesise organic compounds in photosynthesis. Scientists warn that a further depletion in the ozone layer will affect the activities of phytoplanktons. In return, this effect will affect the lives of all the marine animals, birds of the region and the global carbon cycle. Thus the study of these phenomena in the context of increasing environmental pollution shall help us how to maintain the survival of life on Earth. The programme students on Ice is such a programme.


2. What are Geoff Green's reasons for including high school students in the Students on Ice expedition?

Ans: Students on Ice is a programme headed by Canadian Geoff Green. It aims at taking high school students to the ends of the world and providing them with inspiring educational opportunities. These will help them foster a new understanding and respect for our planet. The reasons behind Green's programme are obvious. Geoff Green was tired of taking celebrities and retired rich curiosity seekers who could only 'give' back in a limited way. Green wanted something in 'return' from his 'passengers' to solve the problems relating to climatic changes due to environmental pollution. With Students on Ice he offers the future generation of policy-makers, a life changing experience at an age when they are ready to absorb, learn and act. Antarctica with its simple ecosystem and lack of biodiversity is the perfect place to study how little changes in the environment can have big repercussions. Antarctica holds the key to study all this. Students being the next generation shall learn to understand and respect our planet Earth by going to Antarctica.


Q3. 'Take care of small things and the big things will take care of themselves.' What is the relevance of this statement in the context of the Antarctic environment?


Ans Antarctica is the only place on earth which has never sustained a human population. So it remains pristine to the core in this respect. But most importantly it holds in its ice-cores, half-million-year-old carbon records trapped in its layers of ice. These shall reveal the Earth's past, present and future. Antarctica's simple ecosystem and lack of biodiversity are unique. It is thus the perfect place to study how little changes in the environment can have big repercussions. The author gives the example of the microscopic phytoplanktons-those sea grasses that nourish and sustain the entire Southern Ocean's food chain. These single-chained plants use the sun's energy to assimilate carbon and synthesize under the process 'photosynthesis.' A slight change in microscopic phytoplanktons shall affect the lives of all the marine animals, birds of the region and the global carbon cycle. This means that if w take care of these small things, bigger things shall take care of themselves. The programme students on Ice aims a this aspect of human life and research.


Q4. Why is Antarctica the place to go to , to understand, the earth's present, past and future?


Ans: The statement is true due to simple ecosystem and lack of bio-diversity of Antarctica. Then it has never had human population . Antarctica's Cordilleran folds and pre-Cambrian granite shields can best be studies together with ozone and carbon; evolution and extinction, to know and understand the evolution.


Antarctica had once been a warmer place hosting a huge variety of flora and fauna. It is the only place in the world that has never sustained a human population. It holds in its ice-cores, half -million-year-old carbon records trapped in its layers of ice. These can throw immense light on the Earth's past, present and future. Next, Antarctica is the perfect and right place to study how climatic changes in the environment can have big repercussions. The author gives the example of the microscopic phytoplanktons. These are the sea grasses that nourish and sustain the entire Southern Ocean's food chain. A slight effect on them shall affect the lives of all the marine animals, birds, of the region and the global carbon cycle.


Competnecy-Based Questions ( CBE)


Q1. Why do you think Antarctica is the place to go if we want to study and examine the Earth’s past, present and future? (CBE Question)


The statement emphasizes the importance of Antarctica as a crucial location for studying and examining various aspects of the Earth's past, present, and future. There are several key reasons why Antarctica holds such significance:


1. Earth's Geological History: Antarctica provides a unique and relatively undisturbed geological record that extends back millions of years. The continent's ice sheets and glaciers preserve layers of ancient sediment and ice-cores, containing valuable information about past climates, atmospheric conditions, and environmental changes. By studying these records, scientists can reconstruct the Earth's geological history and gain insights into past climate fluctuations, ice ages, and the evolution of the planet's ecosystems.


2. Climate Change Research: Antarctica plays a crucial role in understanding current climate change trends. As one of the coldest and most remote regions on Earth, it is particularly sensitive to global warming and its effects on the polar ice. Monitoring and studying changes in Antarctica's ice sheets, glaciers, and surrounding seas provide essential data for climate scientists to assess the impacts of human activities on the climate and its consequences for sea-level rise and ocean circulation.


3. Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Despite its harsh conditions, Antarctica supports unique and diverse ecosystems, including marine life, seabirds, seals, and penguins. By studying these ecosystems, scientists can gain valuable insights into the resilience of life in extreme environments and how these ecosystems may respond to environmental changes.


4. Global Collaboration: Antarctica is one of the few places on Earth governed by international agreements, and it is considered a continent for science. The Antarctic Treaty System promotes scientific research, cooperation, and the peaceful use of the continent. Scientists from different countries work together in research stations across Antarctica, fostering international collaboration in addressing global challenges such as climate change and environmental conservation.


5. Testing Ground for Space Exploration: Antarctica's remote and harsh environment makes it an ideal location for testing space technologies and conducting space-related research. Due to its similarities with the extreme conditions of space, scientists use Antarctica to simulate and prepare for future space missions.


In summary, Antarctica's significance as a research destination lies in its unparalleled preservation of the Earth's geological history, its role in understanding climate change, the diverse and resilient ecosystems it hosts, global scientific collaboration, and its usefulness as a testing ground for space exploration. The scientific endeavors in Antarctica contribute not only to expanding our knowledge of the planet's past and present but also to formulating strategies for a sustainable and informed future.


Q2. The author states that her Antarctic experience was full of epiphanies, but the best occurred just short of the Antarctic Circle of 65–55 degrees south? Explain.

Ans: Epiphanies is a Christian festival that celebrates the revelation or enlightenment. Here epiphanies are used metaphorically to suggest moments when the author suddenly becomes conscious of something that is very important to her.

The author experienced the rare of the rarest experiences there in Antarctica both in relation to beauty, wonder and geological phenomena. Such masterly geological epiphany was experienced by her when the Akademik Shokalskiy got wedged into a thick white stretch of ice between the peninsula and Tadpole Island.


The captain decided to turn around and asked the passengers to walk on the ocean. They kitted out in Gore-Tex and glares, walking on a white sheet of ice. Underneath their feet was a metre-thick ice pack. And underneath that, 180 metres of living breathing, salt water lay before them.


In the periphery crabeater seals were stretching and sunning themselves on ice floes. They were doing so like stray clogs will do under the shade of a banyan tree. It was nothing short of revelation. The author saw in it that everything does, indeed connect. This really proved to be the most wonderful experience of all experiences of Antarctica.


Q3.What makes Antarctica an ideal subject of study?

Ans : Antarctica is the only place in the world which has never sustained a human population. It thus remains relatively pristine in this respect. But, more importantly, it holds in its ice core, half a millionyear- old carbon records trapped in its layers of life. Antarctica has a simple ecosystem and lack of biodiversity. It is, therefore, a perfect place to study how little changes in the environment can have big repercussions. Visiting Antarctica means knowing where we have come from and where we could possibly be heading. This place holds the key to know the geological evolution and it shall reveal the earth’s past, present and future.


Q4. What emotions did the author experience when she reached Antarctica at last?

Ans : The author finally set foot on the Antarctica continent after travelling over 100 hours in combination of car, aeroplane and ship. Her first emotion on seeing the vast expansive white landscape and the blue horizon was of relief. She experienced the emotion of wonder at its immensity and isolation and its strange relationship with India.


Q5. How has Antarctica sustained itself and managed to remain pristine?

Ans: Antarctica, on account of being the coldest, windiest and driest continent in the world, has never sustained a human population and has thus managed to remain pristine. This has prevented man from being able to create ruckus in this part of the world by his thoughtless exploitation of the natural resources.

Q6. What are the reasons for the success of the Students on Ice programme?

Ans: Sitting distant in the comfort zone of our houses, any talk about global warming looks so unreal and one can be unconcerned. But the visible experience of seeing glaciers retreating, ice caps melting and ice shelves collapsing makes one understand and realize what global warming is all about. The indications for the future of humankind become clear when one actually witnesses the geological phenomena.

Q7. What is that beauty of balance that a trip to Antarctica unfolded to the author?

Ans: The author was wonderstruck by the beauty of balance in play on our planet. Travelling across nine time zones, three bodies of water and as many ecospheres was an experience that unfolded a wide range of climate, geographical features, and flora and fauna. It was also a visible experience of the varied geographical phenomena.

Q8. By whom and with what objective was Students on Ice programme started? How far has it achieved its goals?

Ans : The Students on Ice programme was started by Canadian Geoff Green. He felt students are the future generation of policy-makers. They should be provided an opportunity to have this lifechanging experience at a young age in order to foster a new understanding and respect for our planet. It would help them to absorb, learn and, more importantly, act for the benefit of the planet.

Geoff Green was tired of taking celebrities and retired rich curiosity seekers who could only give back in a limited way. It means Geoff wanted something in return from his passengers to solve the problems relating to climate changes due to environmental pollution. It is difficult to imagine or be affected by the polar ice caps melting while sitting in our living rooms and so this visible life changing experience is important. Hence, this programme made the children learn that to save big things, small things must be cared for.

Q9. How is Antarctica a crucial element in the debate of climate change?

Ans : Antarctica is a crucial element not because it has no human population but because it holds in its ice cores half a million year old carbon records. They are trapped in its layers of ice. It will open up areas of knowledge about the past, present and future of the earth.


For 6 marks

Antarctica is a crucial element in the debate of climate change due to several significant reasons:


1. Ice Sheets and Sea-Level Rise: Antarctica is home to massive ice sheets that store approximately 70% of the world's freshwater. As global temperatures rise due to climate change, these ice sheets are melting at an accelerating rate. The melting of Antarctica's ice contributes to rising sea levels, posing a significant threat to coastal regions and low-lying islands worldwide.


2. Climate Research: Antarctica serves as a natural laboratory for scientists to study past climate changes. Ice cores drilled from Antarctica's ice sheets provide valuable records of past climate conditions, atmospheric composition, and greenhouse gas concentrations over hundreds of thousands of years. This data helps researchers understand historical climate patterns and how they relate to current changes.


3. Ozone Depletion: Antarctica has been a focal point in the study of ozone depletion, particularly the infamous "ozone hole" over the region. The discovery of the ozone hole led to global action through the Montreal Protocol to phase out ozone-depleting substances, showing that international cooperation can address environmental challenges.


4. Biodiversity and Ecosystems: While the harsh conditions limit biodiversity, Antarctica's unique ecosystems are highly vulnerable to even small environmental changes. Understanding these ecosystems helps researchers assess the impacts of climate change on wildlife and ecosystems in the polar regions.


5. Carbon Storage: Antarctic ice contains ancient air bubbles that preserve samples of past atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Studying these ice cores allows scientists to reconstruct the history of carbon dioxide concentrations and understand the role of greenhouse gases in driving climate change.


6. Feedback Mechanisms: Changes in Antarctica's climate can trigger feedback loops that amplify global climate change. For example, melting ice can reduce the Earth's reflectivity, leading to more absorbed heat and further warming.


7. Global Climate Impact: The climate changes occurring in Antarctica have far-reaching consequences beyond the region itself. Changes in ocean circulation, sea ice extent, and atmospheric patterns influence weather patterns around the globe, affecting weather, agriculture, and ecosystems in various regions.


In summary, Antarctica plays a vital role in the climate change debate due to its contributions to rising sea levels, its value as a climate research hub, its role in understanding ozone depletion, the vulnerability of its ecosystems, its carbon storage potential, its impact on global climate patterns, and its significance in shaping international policies for environmental protection. As a region highly sensitive to climate change, studying Antarctica provides crucial insights into the consequences of global warming and emphasizes the urgent need for effective climate action worldwide.


Q10 How is global temperature increasing? What are the immediate fears due to it?

Ans : Global temperature is increasing due to the increasing burning of fossil fuels. It has now created a blanket of carbon dioxide around the world. This has given birth to questions like: Will the West Antarctica ice sheet melt entirely? Will the Gulf Stream Ocean current be disrupted? Will it be the end of the world as we know of? It may be. It may not be.

Q11. Does the study of the lesson give you a feeling that man is his own great enemy?

Ans: In his 12000-year-long stint on the earth so far man has caused untold harm to the planet, its environment and biodiversity. His activities in the name of development have spelt doom for the flora and fauna and his own existence is in danger. Man is to blame for all the havoc and ruckus created on earth. Thus it is quite right that man is his own great enemy. Q12. What is the significance of the title ‘Journey to the End of the Earth’?

Ans : The title ‘Journey to the End of the Earth’, has more than one meaning. It describes an educational journey to Antarctica undertaken by a group of high school students. To learn more about the real impact of global warming and future of the earth 52 students went to the coldest, driest, windiest continent in the world called Antarctica in Russian research vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy. The author calls it a journey to the end of the earth because it began 13:09 degrees North of Equator in Madras, involved crossing nine time zones, six checkpoints, three oceans and as many ecospheres. She travelled over 100 hours in combination of a car, an aeroplane and a ship. The journey being to the extreme south of the the earth, was really towards the end of it. Another meaning of this title is more significant as the warnings that Antarctica gives are shocking and much concerning the humanity and the millions of other species on the earth. The changes taking place in Antarctica are pointing a warning finger at the existence of of the earth; the earth is journeying to its end.

Recommended Concept Videos

Students on Ice Foundation



<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< End >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

684 views