Much research has been dedicated to studying the effects of climate change and global warming on the Antarctic ice sheet and sea levels; but the same can’t be said about the ice-free parts of the region, which cover less than 1% of the continent. Researchers modelled the potential effect of climate change under two Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate-forcing scenarios. Their findings suggest that under the more radical of the two scenarios, the ice-free areas in the Antarctic can expand by as much as 25% by the end of the 21st century. Such a drastic increase in surface area can bring about a homogenization of the biome, the extinction of less-competitive species and the spread of invasive species. Though the expansion of habitat space can be viewed as a positive outcome, researchers say that sticking to the protocol that aims to reduce global temperature increases will help maintain the current biodiversity in the terrestrial Antarctic regions.
Jasmine R. Lee, Ben Raymond, Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Iadine Chadès, Richard A. Fuller, Justine D. Shaw & Aleks Terauds
Jasmine Lee, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, contact via: Australian Antarctic Division Media Office, E-mail: email@example.com
Original paper published in Nature on June 28, 2017.