The Mysteries of Antarctica Revealed: Why Flying Over it is Prohibited

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Have you ever wondered why planes aren’t allowed to fly over Antarctica? The answer to this question might surprise you!

The Antarctic Treaty

First, it’s important to understand that Antarctica is not owned by any one country. Instead, it is governed by the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed by 12 countries in 1959. Today, there are 54 countries that have signed the treaty.

The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, meaning that it is a place for research and exploration, rather than for commercial activities. The goal is to protect the natural environment and ensure that any human activity on the continent is carried out in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Flight Safety

Now, back to the question at hand – why are planes not allowed to fly over Antarctica? There are actually a few reasons for this.

One is simply a matter of flight safety. Antarctica is an extremely harsh environment, with low temperatures and high winds. There are also few airports or other infrastructure that could be used in the event of an emergency. For this reason, many airlines choose to fly around the continent rather than over it, in order to reduce the risk of any problems.

Environmental Concerns

Another reason that flights over Antarctica are restricted has to do with environmental concerns. As we mentioned earlier, the Antarctic Treaty is in place to protect the continent’s natural environment. One way to do this is to limit the amount of human activity on the continent – including air travel.

When planes fly over Antarctica, they can cause disturbances to wildlife below. This is particularly true for low-flying aircraft, which can create sonic booms that can disorient and even harm animals. The noise pollution can also disrupt the natural breeding and feeding patterns of these creatures. By limiting the number of flights over Antarctica, we can help protect the delicate ecosystem that exists there.

Research Priorities

Finally, it’s worth noting that the restrictions on air travel over Antarctica are also in place to support scientific research priorities. As we mentioned earlier, the continent is a scientific preserve, and researchers from all over the world come here to study everything from climate change to seabird populations.

By limiting the amount of air traffic over the continent, we can help ensure that these researchers are able to conduct their work without interference or disruption. This is particularly important given the remote location and extreme conditions of Antarctica – any disruptions to research could be truly devastating.

The Bottom Line

In the end, there are a number of reasons why planes aren’t allowed to fly over Antarctica – from flight safety to environmental concerns to scientific research priorities. While it might seem like a minor inconvenience, these restrictions are in place for good reason, and help ensure that the continent remains a protected and pristine environment for generations to come.

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