‘Antarctica will get three degrees hotter by century-end’

Panaji, July 14 (IANS) The temperature in Antarctica may rise by as much as three degrees by the end of the century, an expert has said, adding this could be the tipping point as far as the fight against global warming is concerned.

“There are models about the kind of increase in (temperature in) 21st century in Antarctica and it is suspected that the temperatures in the Antarctica peninsula could increase about three degrees up to the end of this century,” Jeronimo Lopez-Martinez, president of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), told IANS on the sidelines of the XIIth International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences here.

The Britain-based SCAR is responsible for initiating, developing and coordinating high quality international scientific research in the Antarctic region (including the Southern Ocean), and on the role of the Antarctic region in the Earth system.

Martinez also said that there was clear evidence that global warming is increasing in the planet in general and particularly in some areas.

“The areas where the temperatures have increased in the last 50 years are polar – some areas in Alaska and Siberia and Western Antarctica. The effects of warming on ice is increasing,” he said, adding that melting ice changes salinity, influences currents and raises the sea level.

“The complications will arise if the temperatures increase more than 2.5 degrees in the next century,” Martinez said when asked if there was a tipping point beyond which the challenge of global warming would be difficult to overcome.

Nearly, 400 scientists from 40 countries are participating in the Goa symposium that has a focus on the Antarctic region with a special thrust on sub-ice rocks in relation to global sea-level rise.

The atmosphere over Antarctica as well as the ocean surrounding the southern continent has strong influences on global weather patterns and ocean currents which directly affect the mankind across the globe.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan.n@ians.in)

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