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    Potential impacts of climate change on the Southern Ocean ecosystem

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    Document Number:
    CCAMLR-VIII/BG/21
    Author(s):
    R.G. Chittleborough (Australia)
    Agenda Item(s)
    Abstract

    Global climate change has the potential to disrupt the delicately poised themal balance in surface waters of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, threatening this highly productive system with severe and permanant collapse. Pivotal to this process is a diminution of the important (but little studied) CO2 sink in the Southern Ocean, resulting in a series of feedback loops accelerating global warming and also intensifying impacts upon the Southern Ocean ecosystem itself.
    As well as outlining the processes involved and stressing the urgent need for further research, this paper underlines our wider social responsibilities to press for fresh policies essential to arrest the global changes before irreversible harm is done to the Antarctic environment and ecosystems, with their global consequences.

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