The truth about the Antarctic Treaty by NWiF1Ybs

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									The World’s Last Great Wilderness
          (Antarctica)
             Dr Julian Paren
              Schools Liaison Officer
              British Antarctic Survey


         Talk at RGS 8 February 2001
             The Antarctic continent
• Coldest, driest, windiest, highest, and least accessible
  continent
• Winter population 1000 people, 10,000 in summer
• 10,000 tourists visit for a few days in summer
• Ice covered for the last 25 million years
• Less than 1% of continent is ice free
• Once the home of dinosaurs, trees and plants
• An insect is the “lion” of the Antarctic
               The Southern Ocean
• Fifty million seals & 15 million penguins
• Regional fishery of global economic value
• History of over-exploitation. Seals, whales. penguins
  and fish
• Fishery for krill and fish regulated by science-backed
  international body under Antarctic Treaty
• Pirate fishing due to lack of effective policing
• Decline of albatross due to mortality on long lines of tuna
  fishermen in sub-Tropics
              The Antarctic Treaty
• Antarctica is “a natural reserve devoted to peace and
  science”
• The Antarctic Treaty manages the region’s wildlife
• Mining is forbidden
• The Treaty runs indefinitely
• Forty-four countries have acceded to the Antarctic Treaty
  (80% of the world population)
• All 44 countries have to agree to Treaty revisions
    “Green” fallacies about the Antarctic
• The Antarctic Treaty expires in 50 years
• Mining is only banned for 50 years
• Antarctica is under threat from developers
• People working in the Antarctic have polluted the
  continent
• Antarctica still has to be saved
• Penguins fall over backwards when planes fly overhead!
       Home truths from the Antarctic
• The Antarctic is the most rigorously protected region of
  the world
• The protection is legally backed
• International inspection teams monitor compliance with
  the Antarctic Treaty
• Man’s footprint on Antarctica is practically invisible
• More “pollution” enters the region through the
  atmosphere than is generated there (DDT, CFCs )
              Antarctic discoveries
• The destruction of the ozone layer
• A 400,000 year demonstration of the link between
  greenhouse gases and climate
• The global impact of the Industrial Revolution
• A reduction of the height of the ionosphere consistent
  with “global warming”
• Lakes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet believed to contain
  life forms possibly millions of years old
        Antarctica is part of the world
• The Earth system involves the whole Earth
• Antarctic studies are essential
• There can be no weak link in understanding the Earth
  system
• Climate feedbacks involving ice, snow, sea ice and ocean
  currents provide the greatest challenges in predicting the
  future
                      The Arctic
• Contains cities, towns and universities
• Indigenous population share the region with new settlers
• All Arctic land is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign
  state
• UK scientists regularly work in the Arctic
• There is far more science activity in the Arctic compared
  to the Antarctic
             The Antarctic ice sheet
• Ice up to three miles (4500 m) thick
• Coldest surface temperature -89 degrees C
• Enough ice for each person in the world to have a block
  180 m by 180 m by 180 m
• If all melted, sea level could rise 65 metres
• If all the glaciers doubled their speed of flow it would
  take 12,000 years for the ice to float into the Southern
  Ocean
           Antarctic ice and sea level rise
• A small change in the size of the      • The disintegration of ice shelves
  Antarctic ice sheet would be serious     from the Antarctic Peninsula has had
  for sea level                            no effect on sea level
• One small part of Antarctica is        • Most of Antarctica is not warming
  above freezing in the summer - the     • In a warmer world more snow will
  Antarctic Peninsula.                     fall over the Antarctic
• The Antarctic Peninsula is warming     • Enhanced Antarctic snowfall is
  and its coastline is changing            possibly the only natural way that
• Maps of Antarctica need updating         sea level rise can be slowed
  regularly because of the changes to
  the coastline
     Future developments in Antarctica
• Exploring the largest lake under the ice sheet
• Obtaining a reliable climate record over half a million
  years
• Exploiting natural “antifreeze” in Antarctic organisms
• Studying the effects of increased UV-radiation and
  “global warming” on Antarctic life
• Celebrating the centenaries of the historic expeditions of
  Scott, Shackleton and Bruce
             Antarctic Schools Pack
• Fifteen sections : each with worksheet and tasks and
  resources for multiple photocopying
• Teachers notes
• Sent free to every UK secondary school
• Aimed at A-level standard
• Written by British Antarctic Survey scientists and an
  educational advisor
• Published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
                  Antarctic Schools Pack
•   The nature of Antarctica           • The ozone hole
•   Discovery of Antarctica            • Geospace
•   Living and working in Antarctica   • Terrestrial and freshwater lake
•   Science in Antarctica                ecosystems
•   The Antarctic Treaty System        • Marine ecosystems
•   Geology in Antarctica              • Management and conservation of
•   Antarctic ice                        marine species
•   The Antarctic climate              • Environmental protection of
                                         Antarctica
                                       • Tourism in Antarctica
   Feedback on Antarctic Schools Pack
• “An essential resource for school or college”
• “Packed with a variety of up-to-date and relevant
  information that can be used flexibly in the classroom”
• “Mori” poll voted it one of the best four resources
  available for study of environmental change
• Received Gold Award of Geographical Association in
  Spring 2000
 Future teaching resources on Antarctica
• BAS has signed a partnership agreement with the
  Geographical Association
• First priority is to develop a Work Package at GCSE
  level on Antarctica
• Propose to develop materials for Primary Schools
• BAS welcomes feedback on the Schools Pack
• BAS will develop www.antarctica.ac.uk
               Resources on the web
• www.antarctica ac.uk                 (British Antarctic Survey)
• www.asoc.org                          (The Antarctica Project)
• www.antarctic.com.au                     (Antarctic Adventure)
• www.aad.gov.au/goingsouth/tourism/news                (tourism)
• http://files.fco.gov.uk/info/briefs/antarctic.pdf
                     (Britain and Antarctica briefing document)
• news.bbc.co.uk                         (search for “Antarctic”)

								
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