From: British Antarctic Survey
Published June 29, 2017 09:08 AM

Climate change may cause expansion to ice-free areas across Antarctica

Ice-free areas in Antarctica could expand by close to 25 per cent by 2100 and drastically change the biodiversity of the continent, research published this week in Nature has shown.

The paper examines, for the first time, the impact of climate change on ice-free areas in Antarctica, which currently cover less than one per cent of the continent, yet are home to almost all Antarctic plants and animals. A team of international researchers, led by the Australian Antarctic Program (AAD), shows a warming climate will cause ice-free areas to expand and join together.

“While this might provide new areas for native species to colonise, it could also result in the spread of invasive species, and in the long-term, the extinction of less competitive native species,” lead author from AAD Dr Aleks Terauds says.

“We predict that melt across the Antarctic continent will lead to the emergence of up to 17,267 km2, close to 25 per cent, of new ice-free areas by the end of this century. The Antarctic Peninsula shows the greatest change, but there are also impacts along the East Antarctic coastline.”

Read more at British Antarctic Survey

Image: Around 1% of Antarctica is ice free (Credit: British Antarctic Survey)

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