The Antarctic Ozone Hole Evolution of the Antarctic Continent Genomics as a tool for biological investigation Evolving global atmosphere and climate Antarctica as indicator of climate change Sun-Earth connections
Take-Home Message: The break-up of Gondwana ultimately led to the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current This current allowed the first exchange of water between the major oceans The ocean currents as we know them today were established with the formation of Antarctica, 30 million years ago
Take-Home Message: First indisputable evidence that human activity can alter the Earth on a global scale Completely unexpected! Ozone loss developed very rapidly and could not be halted It will take at least 50 years before the hole disappears
Science Issue 2 Evolving atmospheric chemistry and climate
Greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) CO 2 amount Years before present 400,000 300,000200,000100,000 400,00 0
Past and future CO 2 atmospheric concentrations Year (AD) Projections Air measurements Ice core data Adapted from IPCC Climate Change 2001 Synthesis Report
Greenhouse gases: Methane (CH 4 ) methane amount Years before present 400,000300,000200,000100,000 0
Temperature… We know CO 2 has increased through time Wide discussion over potential for enhanced CO 2 to alter global climate What can we learn of this association by looking at past climate..?
Climate and greenhouse gases have been very closely connected 400,000300,000200,000100,0000 Years before present Estimated T difference from today / o C CO 2 amount an A Methane amount
Take Home Message: Ice core data shows us that: CO 2 concentrations are currently ~30% greater than in the previous 400,000 years Methane is more than 2 times greater than in the previous 400,000 years Clear association between changes in Greenhouse gases and changes in global temperature
Deep Antarctic Ice Cores Dome Fuji Vostok Dome C
Dome C drilling project Joint European project involving 10 countries Drilling started 1996, currently 100 m above bedrock
Ice core now 3201m in length Oldest ice believed to be ~900,000 years ie. twice as old as Vostok or Fuji Dome C ice core
Science Issue 3 Antarctica as indicator of climate change
Surface temperature change hotspots 0.4 Annual average temperature change ( o C) from 1950 to 1998 was
Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula Faraday/Vernadsky
Take Home Message: The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on the Earth with ~2.5 o C rise in temperature over the past 50 years However this warming is not reflected over the whole of Antarctica Currently viewed as a signal of regional, rather than global warming – but we must monitor it!
Solar variability The sun is not static The number of solar storms has increased by roughly a factor 3 during the past 100 years Solar variability has an influence on the Earths atmosphere and climate Need to quantify this influence for realistic representation in numerical models of the atmosphere and climate
What do we mean by Sun- Earth connection? Include picture of magnetosphere
Auroral Radar network 9 radars in the northern hemisphere 6 radars in the southern hemisphere
The future of the Antarctic Auroral Radar Network Planned new radar: New Zealand Zhongshan Station Dome Concordia South Pole Station
Take Home Message: Need to understand how solar energy is affecting the Earths atmosphere and climate Solar effects are focussed in polar regions Example of tremendous international collaboration to yield the maximum scientific potential
Science Issue 5 Genomics as a tool for biological investigation
Genomics – a new scientific discipline Come about as a result of the Human Genome Project This project resulted in a range of new tools allowing study of genetic material - structure, function, and adaptations Information about genetic adaptation is providing exciting insights into biological evolution
Antarctic marine organisms evolved in a very extreme but very stable environment They therefore provide very useful information on how organisms adapt and respond to stresses
Anti-freeze proteins in ice fish Example of evolution in an extreme habitat – but what is the genetic basis for this adaptation..?
Antarctica as model for ecosystems Antarctic ecosystem is very diverse very few layers in the food chain excellent model in which to study link between the gene and the environment
Take Home Message Genomics is a new scientific discipline, arising from the Human Genome Project This new technology is already being applied to polar regions It is generating knowledge of evolution and biological adaptation of wide scientific and commercial interest
The Antarctic Ozone Hole Evolution of the Antarctic Continent Genomics as a tool for biological investigation Evolving global atmosphere and climate Antarctica as indicator of climate change Sun-Earth connections Sub-Glacial Lakes Ice sheet stability Conservation Cryosphere/atmosphere interactions Space weather Sea ice variability
Big Questions for the Future: What is the role of the Southern Ocean in CO 2 exchange? What has controlled large global climate changes of the past and what is the implication for the future? How will Antarctica affect global sea level? How do ecosystems respond to climate challenges?
Overall conclusion! Scientific study in Antarctica is critical to understanding the Earth system Antarctica: Continent for peace and science