A view of the Larson B Ice Shelf (Antarctica) breaking apart in 2002, compiled using MODIS images
Courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center
Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctica is a cold place. If you were to go visit, you would need a thick winter coat, hat, and mittens. However, along the coast, in an area called the Antarctic Peninsula, it has been getting much warmer. Global warming is causing the planet as a whole to warm, but some areas get warmer faster than others. The Antarctic Peninsula is one of these fast-warming places.
Warmer temperatures are causing giant ice shelves to collapse into the Southern Ocean. This animation that is at the left shows what it looked like when one of these ice shelves broke apart.
The Southern Ocean is also warming. This affects the animals that live there. There is fewer plankton in the Southern Ocean and less winter sea ice for penguins. Many Adelie penguins have moved south to areas that are colder. (To take a look at an abandoned penguin colony, click here.)
Unlike the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures in the middle of the Antarctica are not getting much warmer right now. However, climate models
tell us that Antarctica
will become warmer in the future.
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