The Future of the North and South Poles

Global warming, holes in the ozone and atmospheric haze: these bywords for disaster are often used in conjunction with the Arctic and Antarctica, the North and South Poles. So what are the freezing regions teaching us and what does the future hold in store for them, and ultimately, the whole planet?


Arctic Haze

Sea and air currents mean the Arctic and Antarctic are the fall out region for long-range transport pollutants. A very visible example of this is "Arctic haze". This visible reddish-brown haze occurs in the atmosphere at high latitudes. The term was coined in the 1950s and experts have concluded that this concentration of air pollution is caused by sources thousands of miles away, most likely coal-burning in northern countries.


Ozone Hole

The main environmental concern for Antarctica has been the depleting ozone layer. This layer is incredibly important for all life on earth as it absorbs biologically harmful ultraviolet radiation emitted from the sun. In 1985 three British scientists working at Halley Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf discovered the existence of a hole in the ozone layer.

In 1998 NASA satellite data showed this Antarctic ozone hole covers 27 million square kilometres. The hole is caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) emitted by humans. The resulting ban on CFC’s in the Montreal Protocol of 1989 led scientists to predict the ozone hole will close up over the next fifty years.

Global Warming

Scientists and ecologists believe pollutants and hazardous chemicals used over the centuries have damaged the planet to the extent that we are unnaturally changing its evolution. The Arctic is being watched very closely; being a highly sensitive region, scientists believe what happens there now could foretell what will happen to the planet as a whole.