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What lives in polar regions?

A polar bear on floating iceA polar bear on floating iceThe North Pole is surrounded by the icy Arctic Ocean. At the opposite end of the Earth, the South Pole is located on the continent of Antarctica. Because the Poles never come as close to the Sun as the rest of the Earth, they do not get as much warmth. This means that ice and snow cover the Poles all year round. To survive in the cold, many polar animals have thick fur, dense feathers or layers of fat on their bodies.



The icy waters off AntarcticaThe icy waters off Antarctica 


Icebergs in the Arctic Ocean, off GreenlandIcebergs in the Arctic Ocean, off Greenland

Ice

In the north, much of the Arctic Ocean is permanently covered with a mass of slowly moving ice, called pack ice. Both Greenland, a huge Arctic island, and the southern continent of Antarctica are covered in a thick layer of ice called an ice cap. Icebergs are large chunks of ice that fall into the sea from glaciers or parts of an ice cap. A small part of the iceberg floats above the water. Most of its bulk lies beneath.

The total weight of krill, a tiny shrimp-like creature, in the waters around Antarctica, is estimated at around 380 million tonnes. That is more than the weight of all the humans in the world (around 335 million tonnes).

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