Antarctic sea ice is growing rather than melting thanks to the hole in the ozone layer, new research has revealed.
In stark contrast to the rapidly disappearing Arctic, the frozen seas surrounding the South Pole have increased at the rate of 100,000 square kilometres a decade over the last 40 years.
Scientists believe the growth is down to stronger surface winds over Antarctica and more frequent storms in the Southern Ocean - both direct consequences of the ozone hole.
But the team from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and NASA also warned the ozone hole was only delaying the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate of the continent.
If ozone levels recover as hoped over the next 100 years, thanks to the international ban on CFCs, weather patterns will return to normal and Antarctic sea ice will shrink rapidly.
Professor John Turner of BAS, lead author of the paper published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, said the results underlined the complexity of climate change.
He said: 'Its quite ironic that the continent directly beneath the ozone hole is the one seemingly least affected.
'While there is increasing evidence that the loss of sea ice in the Arctic has occurred due to human activity, in the Antarctic human influence through the ozone hole has had the reverse effect and resulted in more ice.
'Although the ozone hole is in many ways holding back the effects of greenhouse gas on the Antarctic, this will not last, and we expect ozone levels to recover by the end of the 21st Century.
recover by the end of the 21st Century.
'By then there is likely to be around one third less Antarctic sea ice.'
via Sea ice in Antarctic is increasing as a result of the ozone hole, reveals new research | Mail Online.