The world’s southern most continent may still be completely uninhabited by humans. Yet, it is still affected by climate change caused by human activity warming the earth every day.
Antarctica’s huge white surface of ice acts as a barrier to heat, reflecting sunlight and as a result helps regulate the earth’s temperature.
This makes Antarctica a vital piece in keeping our global temperature steady. An imbalance in temperature at the South pole could have catastrophic effects.
Our reporter, Tom Lawrence, spoke to Dr Kaitlin Naughten who is a researcher for the British Antarctic Survey. We asked her about how Antarctica is being affected by climate change currently.
She said: “Antarctica is very well insulated from the rest of the world by westerly winds”.
These westerly winds surround the continent and keep cold air trapped in the continent which in turn keeps Antarctica cool.
If these winds were to stop ice-caps could melt causing huge sea level rising.
Dr Kaitlin said:
“In the next century we could see a worst case scenario of global sea levels rising between one and two metres.”
“We are pretty sure that we are seeing a warming of those ocean waters which come into contact with the ice sheets, this is due to climate change.
“It’s not as simple as the surface atmosphere warming, it’s more to do with a shift in ocean currents and wind patterns.
“Antarctica is affected by greenhouse gas emissions just like anywhere else.”
I asked Dr Kaitlin about how to work to stop the affects of climate change.
“It’s not like one country can take action to stop climate change just in that country.
“It is a global issue and that’s why it’s so hard because everyone has to work together.”
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