Signy Island

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Signy Island
Signy Island Panorama.jpg
Signy Island base and panorama
Signy Island is located in Antarctica
Signy Island
Signy Island
Location Southern Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates 60°43′S 45°36′W / 60.717°S 45.600°W / -60.717; -45.600
Archipelago South Orkney Islands
Total islands 1
Area 19 km2 (7.3 sq mi)
Length 6.5 km (4.04 mi)
Width 5 km (3.1 mi)
Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System
Largest settlement Signy Research Station (pop. 5)
Population 5
Pop. density 0.26 /km2 (0.67 /sq mi)
Signy Island Lighthouse
Signy Research Station fish8479.jpg
Signy Station and the lighthouse on the bluff
Signy Island Lighthouse is located in Antarctica
Signy Island Lighthouse
Signy Island Lighthouse
Location Signy Island
South Orkney Islands
Coordinates 60°42′24″S 45°35′33″W / 60.70675°S 45.592556°W / -60.70675; -45.592556
Year first constructed n/a
Foundation concrete base
Construction metal skeletal tower[1]
Tower shape square pyramidal
Height 12 metres (39 ft)[1]
Focal height 24 metres (79 ft)[1]
Light source solar power
Characteristic F W[1]
Admiralty number G1375[1]
NGA number 20362[1]
ARLHS number SOI-001[2]

Signy Island is a small subantarctic island in the South Orkney Islands of Antarctica. It was named by the Norwegian whaler Petter Sørlle after his wife Signy Therese.


The island is about 6.5 km (4.0 mi) long and 5 km (3.1 mi) wide and rises to 288 m (945 ft) above sea level. Much of it is permanently covered with ice. The average temperature range is 0 °C (32 °F) to about −10 °C (14 °F) in winter (i.e. in July). The extremes extend to 12 and −44 °C (53.6 and −47.2 °F).

Signy Research Station[edit]

The British Antarctic Survey maintains the Signy Research Station, a scientific station for research in biology. The base was opened on 18 March 1947, on the site of an earlier whaling station that had existed there in the 1920s. The station was staffed year-round until 1996; since that year it has been occupied only from November to April. It houses 10 people.[3]

Important Bird Area[edit]

The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports substantial and varied seabird breeding colonies. Birds for which the site is of conservation significance are southern giant petrels (2300 pairs), Wilson's storm petrels (200,000 pairs), imperial shags (800 pairs) and brown skuas (100 pairs). Other birds nesting on the island include chinstrap penguins (19,500 pairs), Adélie penguin (16,900 pairs), gentoo penguins (750 pairs), Antarctic prions (50,000 pairs), south polar skuas, snow petrels, Cape petrels, black-bellied storm petrels, snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns. Antarctic fur seals haul out in large numbers varying up to over 20,000. Weddell seals breed in winter on the sea ice around the island.[4]

Penguins on Signy Island

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f List of Lights, Pub. 110: Greenland, The East Coasts of North and South America (Excluding Continental U.S.A. Except the East Coast of Florida) and the West Indies (PDF). List of Lights. United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 2016. 
  2. ^ "Antarctica". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Who We Are" (Web). Natural Environment Research Council. Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  4. ^ "Signy Island". BirdLife data zone: Important Bird Areas. BirdLife International. 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 60°43′01″S 45°36′00″W / 60.717°S 45.600°W / -60.717; -45.600