April 24th, 2009
In recent years all the headlines have been about ice melting in some of the globe’s chilliest places. But it seems that global warming may actually be leading to an increase in sea ice in parts of the Antarctic.
Scientists in the United Kingdom have produced a study which shows ice has grown by 100,000 square kilometres each decade in the past 30 years.
The increase is being put down to the hole in the ozone layer.
The British Antarctic Survey combined with NASA to look at the levels of ice in the region over the long term.
What was clear was that climate change produces complex results. Instead of a widening hole in the ozone layer, produced by human activity, warming temperatures as they have in the Arctic, in Antarctica it was having the opposite effect.
Scientists such as Julienne Stroeve from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the United States say they are not that surprised by the news of the study and its findings.
“There’s been a change in atmospheric circulation around Antarctica related to the stratospheric ozone depletion and this actually causes stronger winds, which then pushes the ice away from the coast in some regions of Antarctica, which actually then causes more new ice formation and increases the overall sea ice in that region,” she said.
“In other parts of Antarctica the temperatures have been decreasing and this is again sort of what we’ve expected to see, at least according to what the climate models tell us should be happening.