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Global Climate Change: The Ross Ice Shelf

November 23, 2002

Gregory S. Stone, vice president, Global Marine Programs, New England Aquarium

Greg Stone, vice president of Global Marine Programs at New England Aquarium, discusses Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, and addresses the long-standing and pervasive myth that human input is local not global.

The Southern Ocean, the body of water surrounding Antarctica, is a key region in determining global climate. Recent studies show that the Southern Ocean is undergoing an alarming warming trend that may affect climates in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. What is the Antarctic telling us abut our future? In the north, the Arctic also is changing in dramatic and disturbing ways with giant lakes replacing what used to be ice fields. Are the polar areas of our earth especially sensitive? If so, do they now serve as an early warning system for catastrophic change?