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The Antarctic ( or , American English also or ; commonly ) is a polar region around Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica, the Kerguelen Plateau, and other island territories located on the Antarctic Plate or south of the Antarctic Convergence. The Antarctic region includes the ice shelves, waters, and all the island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence, a zone approximately 32 to 48 km (20 to 30 mi) wide and varying in latitude seasonally. The region covers some 20 percent of the Southern Hemisphere, of which 5.5 percent (14 million km2) is the surface area of the Antarctica continent itself. All of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude are administered under the Antarctic Treaty System. Biogeographically, the Antarctic realm is one of eight biogeographic realms on Earth's land surface. Climate change in Antarctica is particularly important because the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has a high potential to add to the global sea level rise. Further, this melting also disrupts the flow of Southern Ocean overturning circulation, which would have significant effects on the local climate and marine ecosystem functioning.

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