48 terms

Antarctica - Threats and Management

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Climate Change
A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
3°C
Air Temperatures have gone up by this amount along the Antarctic Peninsular. The fastest temperature rises on earth and 5 times the mean rate of increase
Weddell sea and Ross Sea
Has ice shelves which are melting
Increased colonisation by plants
Has occurred as a result of melting of perennial snow and ice covers.
Long-term decline in the abundance of Antarctic krill
In the SW Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean may be associated with reduced sea ice cover.
Adelie penguin numbers
Are declining due to melting ice
Increased snowfall (10%)
Has been observed over the past 200 years due to warmer air being able to hold more moisture
Up to 40%
Amount climate change could reduce krill size by in some areas of Antarctica's Scotia Sea causing a drastic reduction in predator numbers.
Rise by 3mm/year since 1990s
Impact of climate change and ice melt in Antarctica on global sea levels
Ocean acidification
Extra CO2 from the air enters the seas as Carbonic acid. This Carbonic acid acidifies the oceans so less for sea creatures who use it to make their shells
2015
Date of Paris Climate Agreement also known as Paris Protocol, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Essential for the protection of Antarctica
Aims of Paris Climate Agreement
Keep global temperature rise below 2°C this century, HICs help LICs to monitor emissions and provide aid
IPCC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific and intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations
Whaling
Exploited and almost decimated stocks of Blue, Fin, Sei, then Minke whales in the 19th and 20th centuries
Sealing
Southern fur seals (as found in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic) were almost completely wiped out by commercial ventures from Europe and North America. The pelts were very popular for their dense short fibred fur that and were made into coats.
IWC
International Whaling Commission (established in 1946)
IWC are responsible for
regulating whaling and ensuring whale population is at a sustainable level
1994
IWC set up whale sanctuary in Southern Ocean. 50million square kms where commercial whaling is banned.
IWC criticism
Not properly monitoring number of whales in whale sanctuary
Whaling Moratorium
Of 1982 banned all commercial whaling around the world
Whaling Moratorium, criticism
NGOs such as Green Peace say WM is poorly enforced as Japan continue to kill whales for scientific reasons
200,000 tonnes
Amount of Krill fished in 2013
Krill
Tiny creatures measuring about 2.5 inches long and weighing about two grams, they are the primary food for a wide range of species, including the world's largest animal, the blue whale.
80%
By how much has the krill population declined since 1970s
Antarctic Rock Cod
Fish species exploited in the Southern Ocean, mainly by the Russian fishing fleet
Krill is caught
For use as a protein food, for oil capsules, and as a food for fish farms
Minerals
Large amounts of coal and iron are suspected to be found in underground deposits in the Transantarctic Mountains
The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty
AKA the Madrid Protocol of 1991, gave extra protection to the environment of Antarctica, especially with regards to mineral exploitation. Valid until 2048.
Impacts of tourism and research
Water and air pollution (increase in shipping and air travel, fuel spills), disruption to breed colonies of birds, trample fragile vegetation and erode the landscape
9,000
visitors to Antarctica in 1992-3
46,000
visitors to Antarctica in 2007-8
Antarctic Peninsular
The most visited part of Antarctica
500
The maximum number of people allowed on tour boats
IAATO
International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators who manage tourism in the continent
SSSIs
Sites of Special Scientific Interest, tourist can't go here
IAATO role
Safe, responsible and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic, tourists receive education on the areas fragility
1959
Antarctic Treaty is signed by 12 countries. This now expanded to 53
Antarctic Treaty
Antarctica used for peaceful reasons, countries should cooperate on scientific research, Antarctica should remain a global common
Prior to 1980s
Rubbish from research facilities was burned, thrown into the sea or dumped
UNEP
United Nations Environmental Programme
UNEP responsible for
Reporting activity in Antarctica to UN
CCAMLR
Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
CCAMLR Tries to
Stop illegal fishing and conserve Antarctic ecosystem by setting up protected areas
Criticisms of CCAMLR
Effectiveness is limited- individual countries protect their own interests (e.g. took 5 years to negotiate protected area in Ross Sea and it hasn't reduced fishing quotas)
ASOC
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition
1978
ASOC formed by a group of NGOs that were concerned that some countries were planning to make it legal to search for oil, gas and minerals
ASOC successfully campaigned
To make Antarctic Treaty meetings more transparent- allowing NGOs to attend
ASOC, what do they do
monitors environmental changes and checks whether countries are sticking to rules and speaks up if they are not