Antarctica is one of the ecosystems most threatened by global warming on Earth today.
Due to this, a large group of scientists has condensed the last years of study around the “white continent” to imagine what this territory will be like in the future.
It is the most comprehensive study on this matter and considers the work carried out over the last 10 years.
The team is made up of 25 experts, guided by the Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI).
What did you find?
Of course, the results are not encouraging. Due to climate change, the waters of Antarctica will continue to warm.
This will increase the probability that plant and animal species from warmer regions will migrate to this inhospitable territory.
Scientists also project a greening of coastal sectors that remain ice-free, which could be associated with an increase in biological diversity.
However, if warming continues for a long period, it could have devastating consequences for species used to lower temperatures.
On the other hand, ocean acidification would also have a negative impact, especially for organisms that form calcareous shells.
"We still cannot say with certainty if they will all go extinct, or if some species will be able to adapt their metabolisms to the new conditions," says the report published in Biological Reviews .
Finally, experts say that one of the main unknowns regarding the future of Antarctica is the capacity of CO 2 that it will be able to absorb in the coming years.
One theory is that the loss of ice will allow the algae to grow larger, which could cause the algae to absorb more carbon dioxide. However, this is just a guess.
Although in some respects the future of Antarctica looms enigmatic, other elements that do remain uncovered lead us to suppose that the so-called white continent will seriously suffer the consequences of climate change.