The Arctic is warming, the Antarctic is not – but this is likely to change.

It seems that even though the poles experience similar climatic conditions their responses are different the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported:

“While the Arctic is warming, most of Antarctica is not, largely because of the ozone hole, but projections indicate that is likely to change. The findings, based on an October 2007 polar climate workshop, will be published in the May 6 issue of EOS, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Co-authors are John Turner and Gareth Marshall of the British Antarctic Survey, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, Nathan Gillett of the University of East Anglia, and Michael Tjernstrom of Stockholm University.”

Thirty scientists looked at the Polar Regions from 1987 to 2007. The scientists concluded that

“based on new research since the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, that a combination of factors is responsible for the recent dramatic sea ice loss in the Arctic as well as masking some of the effects in the Antarctic.

  • Arctic: Sea ice losses will continue. The study says that a combination of factors has sent the Arctic into a new state of sea ice loss, which is occurring much earlier than projected by climate models subject to greenhouse gases alone.

“Additional warming of the ocean and an overall thinning of the sea ice makes it difficult for the Arctic to now return to earlier conditions,” says Overland.

Antarctic: Scientists project that the ozone hole should fully recover by 2070.
“As the ozone hole recovers, we expect that warming will appear on the central plateau of Antarctica and we will see a reduction in sea ice area,” said Turner.”

The findings can be read in full at this link.

The disturbing element of these findings is that the predictions of reductions in sea ice will only exacerbate the erosion of the coastlines which are protected from waves by the sea ice. In the Arctic the erosion is leading to the destruction of coastal villages, while in the Antarctic the action of the waves contributes to ice shelf collapse. This does not even take into account the impact on the wildlife of these habitats.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: An ice cave near Palmer Station, Anvers Island, Antarctica.

Ice cave near Palmer Station.

Photograph by: Zee Evans, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: July 24, 2000

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~ by abstraktbiblos on Sunday, 4 May, 2008.

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