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British Antarctic Survey Climate Change Position Statement

The 2007 Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — made up of the world’s foremost climate scientists — provided unequivocal evidence for a warming climate, and a high degree of certainty that human activities are largely responsible for global warming since the middle of the 20th century.

The British Antarctic Survey fully supports the major conclusions of the IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), namely:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.
  • Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in human-induced greenhouse gas concentrations.

Since this last Assessment Report the scientific evidence for dangerous, long-term and potentially irreversible climate change caused by human activity has strengthened significantly. Recent research, not available at the time AR4 was published, has shown that it is likely that human activity has contributed to climate change in Antarctica, as well as over the other continents.

Changes in the Antarctic climate system and its impacts on the Antarctic environment have been identified and were published in the first comprehensive review — Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment — on 1 December. Some of these changes have been shown to result from man-made increases in carbon dioxide and the reductions in the ozone layer.

British Antarctic Survey recognises the urgency for continued investigations into the regional and global consequences of changes taking place at the Polar Regions. Through its research programme, Polar Science for Planet Earth, British Antarctic Survey scientists strive to provide the best scientific evidence to the international scientific community and to UK policy makers.

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