global warming, antarctica, future
No matter what side you choose in the global warming debate, there are changes taking place all over the planet at a pace that no one can really deny. None more evident than in Antarctica, the coldest continent in the world where air temperature is heating up faster than anywhere else.
The smallest change in temperature has a profound impact on the Antarctic peninsula, compared to the rest of the arctic region. The mountainous region, which sticks out from the rest of the land like an arm reaching toward Tierra del Fuego, is believed to be a progression of the Andes mountain range in South America.
Seven ice shelves on the peninsula are smaller than they were in 1974. A significant change was the loss of 3,250 km of ice from the Larsen B ice shelf over a period of 35 days in 2002. It was the largest collapse in 30 years. These dramatic events have captivated the news and media, helping bring worldwide attention and fuel to the global warming argument.
The krill and Adelie Penguins that inhabit the land have had declines in their populations. The number of krill have decreased by roughly 80 percent since the 1970s, which affects other animals like whales. The Adelie have decreased by more than 70 percent in their territories and have had to move around to where their food supply is located. The Chinstrap Penguins began to move into the Adelie region roughly 50 years ago when the temperatures began to rise.
However, the future of Antarctica may be sound. The peninsula seems to be the only area impacted by the warming air temperature. This may be due to the location and climate of the peninsula, which can easily begin to melt with the slightest increase in temperature since it is not too far from the freezing point. On the main Antarctic land, the temperature is so freezing that no melting would occur even if it was the same temperature as the peninsula.
Today, the biggest threat to Antarctica is tourism.
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