From: Fiona Harvey , Financial TImes
Published December 1, 2009 10:10 AM

Antarctic May Be Shielded by Ozone Hole

LONDON - Antarctica has been protected from the most damaging effects of climate change by the impact of one of the worst environmental disasters of the 20th century, the hole in the ozone layer, research published today revealed.  However, the study has also found that increased melting of some parts of the ice cap around the south pole will cause sea levels to rise much higher than previously expected.

John Turner, of the British Antarctic Survey and lead editor of the work, said: "The most astonishing evidence is the way that one man-made environmental impact — the ozone hole — has shielded most of Antarctica from another — global warming."

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For years, climate change scientists have been puzzling over why most of the Antarctic has shown relatively little warming, and why in some areas the ice cover has, in fact, been increasing. The failure of the Antarctic to melt across most of its extent — in sharp contrast to the Arctic, where the decline of sea ice and the melting of Greenland’s glaciers have been well-documented — has been held up by climate change skeptics as evidence of how global warming is not that serious.

But after drawing on several years of research, experts from the international Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, a group made up of 100 leading scientists from 13 countries, now say the hole in the ozone layer has changed south polar weather systems.

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