In the northern hemisphere our focus is primarily on the Arctic and the vanishing sea ice. Australians tend to focus on their backyard, the Antarctic, and they're being warned that change is rapidly spreading
The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) told a Senate estimates
hearing today "rapid changes" taking place across the icy land mass
would have significant impact on global climate.
Changes in ocean flows and shifts in Antarctic ice cap levels
were occurring at rates faster than at any other time in history, chief
scientist Nick Gales said.
...Scientists were detecting major changes in the circulation of deep, dense salty water off Antarctica.
This water, which drives the circulation of the world's
oceans and in turn climate patterns, was reducing, while becoming warmer
and less salty.
Meanwhile, parts of the Antarctic ice caps were melting at unprecedented rates.
"The findings around changes in Antarctica and the southern
oceans are critically important to driving world climate," Dr Gales
"That is the engine room of a large amount of world climate, so changes there are important."
He dismissed suggestions the claims were alarmist, adding
scientists were "by definition" sceptics and based their conclusions
only on testing data.
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