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Antarctic ice cover 'increasing due to hole in ozone layer'

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Postby Jaack » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:42 pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... layer.html

Antarctic ice cover 'increasing due to hole in ozone layer'


Antarctic sea ice is growing rather than shrinking as a result of the hole in the ozone layer, scientists have said.


By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:37PM BST 22 Apr 2009
Antarctic ice: Antarctic ice cover 'increasing due to hole in ozone layer'
Scientists believe the growth is down to stronger surface winds over Antarctica Photo: GETTY

In stark contrast to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic over the last 30 years, the frozen seas surrounding the South Pole have increased at the rate of 100,000 square kilometres a decade over the last 40 years.

Scientists believe the growth is down to stronger surface winds over Antarctica and more frequent storms in the Southern Ocean – both direct consequences of the ozone hole.

But the team from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Nasa warned the ozone hole was only delaying the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate of the White Continent.

If ozone levels recover as expected over the next 100 years, thanks to the international ban on damaging CFCs, weather patterns will return to normal and Antarctic sea ice will shrink rapidly, they said.

Professor John Turner of BAS, lead author of the paper published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, said the results underlined the complexity of climate change.

He said: "While there is increasing evidence that the loss of sea ice in the Arctic has occurred due to human activity, in the Antarctic human influence through the ozone hole has had the reverse effect and resulted in more ice.

"Although the ozone hole is in many ways holding back the effects of greenhouse gas increases on the Antarctic, this will not last, as we expect ozone levels to recover by the end of the 21st Century.

"By then there is likely to be around one third less Antarctic sea ice."
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