Saturday, 26 November 2011


Mother Naure weeps as the ice melts.
There is a myth among the climate change denial industry that the climate of Antarctica is actually cooling rather than warming, and that this disproves the case for global warming. One theory is that the (man made) ozone hole has temporarily cooled the stratosphere and this makes for local cooling in spite of global warming; but needless to say, even this week, outright deniers claim that the thinning and breaking of huge swathes of glaciers is meaningless.

This surprising claim is in the face of the 1.2C average increase in Antarctic temperatures between 1959 and 1996. And it also ignores the plain fact that on a more front line level, there is clear warming taking place - for example, the Antarctic tourist industry (yes, there is such a thing, now) is rubbing its hands with glee at the profitable prospect of being able to take tourists deeper into Antarctica - one tour has been extended from 11 to 14 days because there are far more opportunities to disembark and sight see compared to a few years ago.

And study after study, including this year, has shown increasing thinning and melt of ice shelves, with massive icebergs resulting. while a plague of parasitic crabs moving south with warmer water is currently causing concern for local flora and fauna. By contrast, the supposed cooling evidence comes from data collected at just one location on the Continent - the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research Station, along with rather a lot of extrapolation.

Antarctica has been described as the canary of the world - perhaps we should be listening harder to its faltering song.

The music and beauty of Antarctica - with film from the threatened south and north poles:

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