Ozone Hole + Global Warming = More Ice Here, Less Ice There

By Eliza Strickland | April 22, 2009 5:41 pm

Antarctica iceAt the bottom of the world, fluctuations in sea ice surrounding the frozen continent of Antarctica have posed a puzzle. In West Antarctica, the vast Wilkins Ice Shelf off the Antarctic peninsula appears to be headed towards a collapse. But in East Antarctica, sea ice has been expanding since the 1970s. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey and NASA set out to determine what was going on, and quickly ruled out one possible answer: Global warming is not an illusion, they say, and Antarctica as a whole is gradually warming up, as is the world at large.

The answer to the riddle, they say, lies in a different (and almost forgotten) environmental problem: the hole in the ozone layer, which has altered weather patterns around Antarctica. These changes have drawn in warm air over the Antarctic Peninsula in West Antarctica and cooled the air above East Antarctica [New Scientist].

Study coauthor Tom Lachlan-Cope explains that Antarctica’s sea ice had expanded most in the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand. “It’s the classic way that sea ice is produced. You get an offshore wind which blows the ice away from the shore and exposes open sea water which then freezes over because of the cold air” [Reuters], he says. The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, also notes that warm air is drawn from South America over the Antarctic Peninsula, contributing to the collapse of 10 ice shelves around the peninsula since 1950.

But researchers warn that global warming’s effects will catch up with East Antarctica eventually, saying that 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 [chemicals], weather patterns will return to normal and Antarctic sea ice will shrink rapidly, they said [Telegraph].

Related Content:
80beats: Antarctic Ice Bridge Breaks, Hastening the Collapse of an Ice Sheet
80beats: Antarctic Ice Sheet Has Collapsed Before, and Looks Likely to Collapse Again
80beats: A Rising Tide Swamps All Coasts: New Estimates of Sea Level Rise Spell Global Trouble
80beats: Antarctic Ice Melt Would Shift Earth’s Axis, Further Changing Sea Level
80beats: Antarctica Is Definitely Feeling the Heat From Global Warming
DISCOVER: The Ground Zero of Climate Change is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Image: flickr / elisfanclub

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/04/22/ozone-hole-global-warming-more-ice-here-less-ice-there/ AntonioSosa

    More and more scientists and thinking people all over the world are realizing that man-made global warming is a hoax that threatens our future and the future of our children. More than 700 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims. They are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers. http://www.climatechangefraud.com/content/view/3562/218/

    Additionally, 32,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate…” http://www.petitionproject.org/index.html

    “Progressive” (communist) politicians like Obama seem determined to force us to swallow the man-made global warming scam. We need to defend ourselves from the United Nations and these politicians, who threaten our future and the future of our children. Based on a lie, they have already wasted billions and plan to increase taxes and increase the cost of energy, which will limit development, destroy our economy and enslave us.

  • Brian M

    AntonioSosa — I’ve been yelling the same thing for years. Nice to see someone else with common sense. “Global warming” may or may not be real, but it sure as blazes has nothing to do with us. These latest reports note that satellite measured temperatures show global temsp have cooled over the last 10 years, with the decline in temperatures accelerating over the last two years. U.S. temperatures rose from 1977 to 1998, but they fell from 1940 to 1977. The hottest decade was the 1930s. Yet “greenhouse gases” have increased continuously throughout the century, which should have produced a trend of consistent temperature increases if it was causing global warming.
    Also, global temperatures were warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period — a span of several hundred years around 1000 A.D. Yet there was no significant human burning of fossil fuels during this periods to cause these higher temperatures and none of the catastrophes trumpeted by liberal “scientists” occurred.

  • Daniel J. Andrews

    Great stuff, Antonio, Brian. You might want to do a little checking of the facts for yourself instead of swallowing whole the nonsense you get off denialist websites. “More than 700 international scientists….” , “32,000 scientists”…sheesh, that was discredited years back and yet it keeps cropping up. Anyone repeating those two claims marks themselves are ignorant of basic facts.

    And no, global temps were not warmer in the MWP than they are today. That is another long discredited myth. Check out the IPCC reports for starters. Incidentally, even if the temps were warmer in the MWP it still would be mostly irrelevant to what is happening today. Bet you don’t know why either so that is something else you can go look up.

    If you are true skeptics and not just denialists, drop on by realclimate.org and educate yourself. Click on the “start here” link and find out which arguments have been thoroughly debunked so you don’t discredit your entire argument because you don’t know enough to recognize which points are valid and which ones are nonsense and lies (hint: Brian, you managed to fit a lot of factually wrong points together and as a bonus demonstrated you don’t know the difference between climate and weather—-and if you get that last one wrong that tells readers you aren’t worth taking seriously because that is a rookie mistake that won’t be made by anyone with a little background).

  • Spencevail

    Its getting pretty hard to deny global warming. For those of you who are still skeptics, look at the facts, not the followers. There is sound scientific evidence that links increased CO2 levels with increased temperatures. If you think believing in global warming will harm our kids, you need to consider the physical damage that global warming will do to our kids. Either way, humans are leading a destructive path on our only home…. and thats a fact, not a theory. We need to change our ways and quickly. Otherwise humans will wipe ourselves off the face of this planet in a shorter time than you may think.

  • http://www.michaelthemagician.com Michael

    Whether or not global warming is man-made or not (I believe it is. It’s hard not to considering what we are and have done to the atmosphere in the past – ozone, acid rain, etc.).

    However that does not change the fact that what we need to do to stop global warming is still a good idea to do:
    – stop using fossil fuels (convert cars to electric or hydrogen)
    – use renewable energy resources (not only a good idea, but eliminates the fallacious jobs vs. environment arguement – employees would be hired permanently)
    – live sustainably (land is finite)

  • http://google megan shuck

    this has really made me open my eyes and make me want to do something to help out in the universe.

  • Christina Viering

    This has been a problem since forever, but at least people are beginning to open their eyes and see it.

  • Howard Trussler

    Well Daniel J if you were the great climatologist you claim you would know increased CO2 levels follow global warming NOT precede it. In addition anyone who believes hydrogen can replace carbon based fuels knows nothing about producing hydrogen or it’s released energy when used.
    Yes man must clean up his act or things will be worse when any climate change hits. The amount of garbage and pollution we cause is outrageous. However, we can NOT stop climate change, we can only adept to it and the sooner we start the more of us that will survive.
    Carbon taxes and carbon trading are both such a joke that it is hard to understand how people can even believe such things work. Ocean freighters cause more pollution than most countries yet you hear nothing about them. It’s call money honey.
    Population control: we need it. Only China does it. Sound crop management: we need it. Nobody does it. Fresh water control: we need it. Few even understand it.

  • Barry L.

    There is much contributing to the warming effect that has nothing to do with man. The sun is what offers us the heat we all need and thrive on. Solar activity plays a major role in what we experience here on earth. Methane is a much more problematic gas than is CO2. That gas is constantly being leached from the ocean floor in the “Bermuda Triangle”. Why don’t we hear about the entire picture instead of that which is part of life, CO2? I would be concerned if what is occurring never happened before but such is not the case. There is absolutely nothing wrong with cleaning up our act because one day fossil fuels will dwindle and we will need replacements. There is far too much speculation pushed by a political agenda. CO2 claims COULD be wrong. It is just that it is doing something to make some rich who can buy away their responsibility. Ponzi scheme comes to mind. This is a solution hunting a problem.

  • Jessica Chong

    There are a lot of scientific evidences showed that global warming is getting worse, and the compared data clearly showed that this trend is contribute by us, the wise man Homo Sapien. We should have more common sense to accept we are destroying our own planet. The developed nations contribute most of the CO2 and other GHG to the atmosphere, they should start and contribute the most effort to save the world. The atmosphere is belong to all nations in the world as well as the whole ecosystems, and global warming also a disaster belong to all of us.

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