Scientists have given a stark warning about the hole in the Earth's ozone layer, which has shielded Antarctica from the worst effects of global warming in recent years. They warn that, as the hole closes up in the next few decades, temperatures on the continent could rise by around 3?C on average, with melting ice contributing to a global sea-level increases of up to 1.4m. The first comprehensive review of the state of Antarctica's climate and its relationship to the global climate system has been published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). The review � Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment � presents the latest research from the icy continent, identifies areas for future scientific research, and addresses the urgent questions that policy-makers have about Antarctic melting, sea-level rise and biodiversity. Long-term monitoring reveals that the ozone hole has delayed the impact of greenhouse gas increases on Antarctica's climate, whilst t Dr Colin Summerhayes, Executive Director of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research said, "Antarctica is an unrivalled source of information about our planet. This review describes what we know now and illustrates how human activity is driving rapid climate change. By integrating this multidisciplinary evidence into a single source we will help scientists and policy-makers understand the distinction between environmental changes linked to the Earth's natural cycles, and those that are human induced. The work is particularly important because it puts Antarctic climate change into context and reveals the impact on the rest of the planet." Professor John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey is the lead editor of the review. He said, "For me the most astonishing evidence is the way that one man-made environmental impact � the ozone hole � has shielded most of Antarctica from another � global warming. Understanding the complexities surrounding these issues is a challenge for scientists � and communicating these in a meaningful way to society and to policymakers is essential. There is no doubt that our world is changing and human activity is accelerating global change. This review is a major step forward in making sure that the latest and best evidence is available in one place. It sets the scene for future Antarctic Research and provides the knowledge that we all need to help us live with environmental change."


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.