Climate answers buried in Antarctica

Many of the remaining great unknowns about climate change lie buried within Antarctica’s ice.

The Great UnknownAt the Strategic Science in Antarctica conference held in Hobart this week , the Australian Science Media Centre held an online media briefing with key speakers on some of the climate uncertainties relating to the icy continent.

If the entire Antarctic ice sheet melted, it is estimated it would raise global sea levels by nearly 60 metres. Yet the response of the ice sheet to global warming is still one of the largest unknowns in projecting sea level rise.

Over the last few decades, the Antarctic Peninsula has been one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet, while in contrast some of the Antarctic interior has been cooling. In both cases it’s thought the Antarctic ozone hole is implicated and yet climate models often fail to fully account for its role.

WebBackgroundButtonSpeakers at the briefing elaborated on these issues and explained the current research which aims to provide more information about these climate responses.


  • Professor Tim Naish is Director of the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington. He is also currently a Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report.
  • Dr Andrew Klekociuk is a Senior Research Scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division.