The Future of the Antarctic Ozone Hole
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The detection of the ozone hole in the 1980s is considered one of the most important scientific discoveries of the past fifty years. Since then, it has been recognized as having a significant impact on the global atmospheric system, and in particular on Antarctic climate. It has recently been discovered that the Antarctic Polar Vortex, which forms during the polar winter as a result of ozone depletion, has played a major role in maintaining the stability of the East Antarctic Ice sheet over the last 50 years. Work is currently being undertaken to investigate the likely evolution of the Antarctic ozone hole in the future, in particular how a reduction in size might impact on Antarctic climate. It is possible that as the Antarctic Polar Vortex weakens the continent will no longer be shielded from the warming that has been occurring over the rest of the globe. As a result of this it is predicted that stratospheric temperatures could rise by up to 9° Celsius and that sea ice could decline by up to a third, if the size of the ozone hole is reduced to pre-1980 levels, as it is predicted to do by the end of the twenty-first century.
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