Antarctica and climate change
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The concept of climate change and the ability of mankind to alter natural cycles of global temperature, over a relatively short timescale is something that has never before been encountered on this planet. The evidence for such change arises from a variety of sources, however the most convincing argument related to the validity of this effect originates from the ice core samples of Antarctica. Gas bubbles entrained in compressed snow over thousands of years provide a snapshot of the atmospheric conditions present during these times. The concentrations of trace gases such as CO2, as well as the stable isotopic ratios of elements such as oxygen can be used to determine historic temperature variations as well as predict future temperature rises. The main uncertainly with this simplified model is not if temperatures will rise with elevated CO2 but when, how fast will this process occur and what impacts this will have on the flora and fauna of the world. In attempting to answer some of these questions one must look at areas of the planet where climate change is currently having the most visible and significant impacts. The West Antarctic Peninsula is currently one of the fastest warming areas on Earth and is experiencing significant and measurable change to its climate and the species that inhabit this region. How this information is communicated and portrayed to the world’s populations is therefore crucial to their understanding of climate change, its implications and effects, as well as preventative actions that can be undertaken both by the individual and as a country.
- Syndicate Reports