The Southern Hemisphere is the half of Earth located south of the Equator. It contains more ocean and less land mass than the Northern Hemisphere. Two continents, Australia and Antarctica, are located completely within the Southern Hemisphere, as well as parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. Additionally, the Southern Ocean is located entirely within the Southern Hemisphere, plus parts of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans.
Continents in the Southern Hemisphere
Australia is the world's smallest continent and is located entirely within the Southern Hemisphere. The continent occupies an area of approximately 2.97 million square miles and includes mainland Australia, Tasmania, and numerous other small islands. The Pacific and the Indian Oceans engulf Australia, and it is fondly referred to as the "Island Continent." The vast land mass is endowed with diverse terrains, such as rainforests, arid deserts, coastal plains, and vast grasslands. Australia experiences different climatic conditions depending on location. For example, the northern region has a tropical climate, the southwestern region has a Mediterranean climate, and the southeastern region experiences a subtropical climate. Australia is also listed among the driest continents in the world.
Antarctica is located entirely within the Southern Hemisphere. The continent is located near the South Pole region and occupies an estimated area of 5.4 million square miles. Antarctica is considered to be Earth's driest, windiest and coldest continent. The region experiences extremely low temperatures, and it is estimated that 98% of the land in Antarctica is covered in thick ice. In fact, as much as 90% of the world's ice is found in Antarctica. The continent is home to few animals and plants, and harsh climatic conditions have made it unfavorable for human settlement.
Africa is a continent that occupies an area of 11.7 million square miles. The Equator crosses through Africa, which separates which part of the continent is located in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Approximately 33% of Africa falls within the Southern Hemisphere. The region near the equator experiences a tropical climate, while the southern part of the continent has a temperate oceanic climate. Africa has a rich diversity of plants and animals distributed throughout the Southern Hemisphere.
The majority of South America is located within the Southern Hemisphere. The continent occupies an area of 6.89 million square miles, and consists of a large mainland, plus numerous islands located in the South Atlantic Ocean. The continent has the richest biodiversity of all the world's continents.
Oceans in the Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean, is located in the southernmost region of the Earth, near Antarctica. It is the second smallest ocean, and it is the only ocean located entirely within the Southern hemisphere. It engulfs Antarctica and borders the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans.
The Indian Ocean covers an area of 27.2 million square miles, the majority of which is located in the Southern Hemisphere. The ocean is flanked by Africa to the west, Asia to the north, and Australia to the east. The Indian Ocean has the warmest water temperatures of the world's five oceans.
The Pacific Ocean is the world's largest ocean, and roughly half is located in the Southern Hemisphere. The Southern Pacific Ocean meets the Southern Ocean to the south, Australia to the west, and South America to the east.
The Atlantic Ocean is the world's second-largest ocean and occupies an estimated area of 41.1 million square miles. The Equator crosses through the Atlantic, roughly dividing into the North Atlantic Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean. The South Atlantic Ocean is located in the Southern Hemisphere, where it meets South America, Africa, and the Antarctic Ocean.
Characteristics of the Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is largely comprised of oceans, which make up 80% of its surface area. The region has warmer temperatures and milder climatic conditions than the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, tropical storms and cyclones spin in a clockwise direction. The hemisphere also has diverse resources such as mineral deposits, natural forests, and maritime resources.