• Question: Hi, I was wondering if you could shed some light on global warming and climate change in Antarctica. I love learning about endangered animals living in colder climates and how the planets on growing heat affects them and how it will affect us. I feel like its the human races fault global warming is worsening I was wondering if you, a scientist in the Antarctic felt the same way.

    Asked by beanz to Simon, Julia, Delma, Andrew, Alex on 8 Dec 2015.
    • Photo: Alexander Finch

      Alexander Finch answered on 8 Dec 2015:

      Good question. The main reason we’re here in the Antarctic is because it is an excellent place to study the climate – and the changes in it. This is for two reasons:
      1. To get a good understanding of the whole planet’s climate – which is one highly complex system – you need to observe the conditions everywhere, or in as many places as you can. Not looking at the area around Antarctica would be a huge “gap” in our knowledge. Some chemical processes in the atmosphere only happen in the polar regions (such as the formation of the ozone hole) so we need to be here to see them!
      2. Antarctic is ultra-clean. There is no nearby cities or factories or even plants to alter measurements we take here. As such, we can see more subtle, global variations here. For example, we monitor CO2 levels here that are more accurate than measurements elsewhere in the world that would be affected by local human or biological activity.

    • Photo: Andrew Winnard

      Andrew Winnard answered on 8 Dec 2015:

      NASA spacecraft study global warming too! Find out all about that here: http://climate.nasa.gov/

      Also here is an amazingly cool website which lets you track the environment live right now: http://earth.nullschool.net

    • Photo: Julia Attias

      Julia Attias answered on 8 Dec 2015:

      Great question @beanz! Think Alex is the best one to answer that, so I’ll leave you in his capable hands 🙂