• Environmental analysis news: Ozone layer hole 'shielding' Antarctica from global warming

Environmental Laboratory

Environmental analysis news: Ozone layer hole 'shielding' Antarctica from global warming

Dec 01 2009

The first ever comprehensive review of the state of Antarctica's climate has been published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (Scar), revealing some "extraordinary" new findings.

One of the most surprising discoveries made by the 100 scientists who collaborated on the project is that the hole in the ozone layer has been protecting the Antarctic continent from the effects of global warming.

According to the report, the ozone hole "has delayed the impact of greenhouse gas increases on the climate of the continent", which has resulted in changes to the south polar winds and, consequently, affected weather patterns in the region.

Researchers found that westerly winds over the Southern Ocean have increased by about 15 per cent. As a result, Antarctica has effectively been isolated by the stronger winds from warming elsewhere on the planet.

Professor John Turner, lead author of the British Antarctic Survey, commented: "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. Understanding the complexities surrounding these issues is a challenge for scientists."

The ozone hole above the Antarctic was discovered in 1985 by a group of British scientists.

Posted by Lauren Steadman

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