|Gough and Inaccessible Islands|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|Designated:||20 November 2008|
|Inscription||1995 (19th Session)|
Gough Island //, also known historically as Gonçalo Álvares (after the Portuguese explorer) or mistakenly as Diego Alvarez, is a volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a dependency of Tristan da Cunha and part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It is uninhabited except for the personnel of a weather station (usually six people) which the South African National Antarctic Programme has maintained continually on the island since 1956. It is one of the most remote places with a constant human presence.
The island was first named Ilha de Gonçalo Álvares on Portuguese maps (Spanish Isla de Gonzalo Álvarez). It was named Gough Island after Captain Charles Gough of the Richmond who sighted the island in 1732. Confusion of the unusual Portuguese saint name Gonçalo with Spanish Diego led to the misnomer "Diego Alvarez island" in English sources from 1800s to 1930s.
Geography and geology 
Gough Island is roughly rectangular with a length of 13 km (8.1 mi) and a width of 7 kilometres (4.3 mi). It has an area of 91 km2 (35 sq mi) and rises to heights of over 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level. Topographic features include the highest Peak, Edinburgh Peak, Hags Tooth, Mount Rowett, Sea Elephant Bay, Quest Bay, and Hawkins Bay.
It includes small satellite islands and rocks such as Southwest Island, Saddle Island (South), Tristiana Rock, Isolda Rock (West), Round Island, Cone Island, Lot's Wife, Church Rock (North), Penguin Island (Northeast), and The Admirals (East). It is a remote, rugged and lonely place, about 400 km (250 mi) south-east of the other islands in the Tristan da Cunha group, 2,700 km (1,700 mi) from Cape Town, and over 3,200 km (2,000 mi) from the nearest point of South America.
The details of the discovery of Gough Island are unclear, but the most likely occasion is July 1505 by the Portuguese explorer Gonçalo Álvares. Maps during the next three centuries named the island after him. On some later maps, this was erroneously given as Diego Alvarez.
- It was named Gonçalo Alvarez, after the captain of Vasco da Gama's flagship on his epic voyage to the east, and under this name it was marked with reasonable accuracy on the charts of the South Atlantic during the following 250 years. Then, in 1731, Captain Gough of the British ship Richmond reported the discovery of a new island, which he placed 400 miles to the east of Goncalo Alvarez. Fifty years later cartographers realised that the two islands were the same and despite the priority of the Portuguese discovery, and the greater accuracy of the position given by them, "Gough's Island" was the name adopted.
In the early 19th Century, sealers sometimes briefly inhabited the island. The earliest known example is a sealing gang from the US ship Amethyst which remained on the island in 1806–1807.
Gough Island was claimed only in 1938, for Britain, during a visit by HMS Milford of the Royal Navy.
Gough and Inaccessible Island are a protected wildlife reserve, which has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has been described as one of the least disrupted ecosystems of its kind and one of the best shelters for nesting seabirds in the Atlantic. In particular, it is host to almost the entire world population of the Tristan Albatross (Diomedea dabbenena) and the Atlantic Petrel (Pterodroma incerta). However, this status is now in doubt as in April 2007 researchers published evidence that predation by introduced house mice on seabird chicks is occurring at levels that might drive the Tristan Albatross and the Atlantic Petrel to extinction. The island is also home to the almost flightless Gough Island Moorhen, and the critically endangered Gough Bunting.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has since been awarded £62,000 by the UK government's Overseas Territories Environment Programme to fund additional research on the Gough Island mice and a feasibility study of how best to deal with them. The grant will also pay for the assessment of a rat problem on Tristan da Cunha island.
Important Bird Area 
The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International for its endemic landbirds and as a breeding site for seabirds. Birds for which the IBA has conservation significance include Northern Rockhopper Penguins (144,000 breeding pairs), Tristan Albatrosses (1000–1500 pairs), Sooty Albatrosses (5000 pairs), Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses (5000 pairs), Broad-billed Prions (100,000 pairs), Kerguelen Petrels (20,000 pairs), Soft-plumaged Petrels (50,000 pairs), Atlantic Petrels (20,000 pairs), Great-winged Petrels (5000 pairs), Grey Petrels (10,000 pairs), Great Shearwaters (100,000 pairs), Little Shearwaters (10,000 pairs), Grey-backed Storm Petrels (10,000 pairs), White-faced Storm Petrels (10,000 pairs), White-bellied Storm Petrels (10,000 pairs), Antarctic Terns (500 pairs), Southern Skuas (500 pairs), Gough Moorhens (2500 pairs) and Gough Buntings (3000 individuals).
Weather station 
The weather station on Gough Island is operated as part of the network of the South African Weather Service. Because cold fronts approach South Africa from the south-west, the Gough station is particularly important in forecasting winter weather.
|Climate data for Gough Island|
|Average high °C (°F)||17.2
|Average low °C (°F)||11.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||210
|Avg. precipitation days||16||13||18||19||21||22||23||21||20||18||16||18||225|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||184||149||123||96||84||60||72||88||102||129||161||183||1,431|
The Gough Island teams consist of:
- a senior meteorologist
- two junior meteorologists
- a radio technician
- a medic
- a diesel mechanic
- biologists (depending on ongoing research projects)
See also 
- Report on the geological collections made during the voyage of the ... British Museum (Natural History), Walter Campbell Smith, British Museum (Natural History) – 1930 "DIEGO ALVAREZ OR GOUGH ISLAND. By W. Campbell Smith. Gough Island, as it seems to be more usually called, lies about 200 miles south of the Tristan da Cunha group in latitude 40° S., longitude 10° W.1 It is about 8 miles long by 3 ..."
- Plants of Gough Island: (Diego Alvarez) Erling Christophersen – 1934
- The Antarctic dictionary: a complete guide to Antarctic English – Page 150 Bernadette Hince – 2000 -"I went for adventure. to have fun, Gough Island Gough Island was named I. de Goncalo Alvarez on early maps. after its discoverer. Portuguese navigator Goncalo Alvarez. The name was later corrupted to I. Diego Alvarez. and there was confusion about the locality. It was renamed after Captain Charles Gough of the British barque Richmond. who sighted the island in 1713."
- "Gough Island". Sanap.ac.za. Retrieved 2012-10-25.
- "South African Journal of Science – Gough Island 500 years after its discovery: a bibliography of scientific and popular literature 1505 to 2005". Scielo.org.za. Retrieved 2012-10-25.
- Wace N.M. (1969). "The discovery, exploitation and settlement of the Tristan da Cunha Islands". Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (South Australian Branch) 10: 11–40.
- Gough's log is preserved in the East India Collection at the British Library. The entry for 3 March 1732 is printed in Gabriel Wright (pub.), "A New Nautical Directory for the East-India and China Navigation", 7th edn, London, 1804, p. 394.
- Heaney, J.B., Holdgate, M.W. (1957). The Gough Island Scientific Survey.The Geographical Journal, Vol. 123, No. 1, pp. 20–31
- "Gough Island, South Atlantic Ocean". Btinternet.com. Retrieved 2012-10-25.[dead link]
- Cuthbert, J. & Sommer, E. Population size and trends of four globally threatened seabirds at Gough Island, South Atlantic Ocean. Marine Ornithology 32: 97–103.
- R M Wanless, A Angel, R J Cuthbert, G M Hilton and P G Ryan (2007). "Can predation by invasive mice drive seabird extinctions?". Biology Letters 3 (3): 241–244. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2007.0120. PMC 2464706. PMID 17412667.
- Roots, Clive (2006). Flightless birds. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 60. ISBN 0-313-33545-1. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "Gough Island". Important Bird Areas factsheet. BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-25.
- "Climate Statistics for Gough Island, South Africa". 20 February 1998.
- The South African Weather Station on Gough Island – Official website.
- Wiki site for Southern Ocean Islands and Antarctica
- Web site for the 54th South-African expedition to Gough Island[dead link]
- Gough Island on GlobalGuide
- Map of Gough Island, with PDF downloadable
- The South Atlantic and Subantarctic Islands: Gough Island
- UNESCO Gough & Inaccessible Islands Wildlife Reserve
- Photographs by one of the South African Weather Station staff who was based on Gough Island.