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  1. ITV Report

Ozone hole helping keep sea ice levels steady in Antarctica, scientists say

The amount of sea ice in Antarctica has stayed broadly the same over the past 100 years, scientists have found - contrasting sharply with declining levels in the Arctic.

The harsh, unforgiving climate of the south pole has made Antarctic ice patterns much more difficult to explain than its northern cousin.

Scientists have now turned to the history books for a deeper understanding.

The records of pioneering explorers such as Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton have helped build a clear picture of the environment as it was a century ago, using their logs to estimate the amount of sea ice at that time.

Painstakingly, researchers have used accounts of when and where the explorers noted being in the ice, and compared it to modern day readings.

Data suggests sea ice levels in Antarctica have not changed much in the past 100 years

While the levels have ebbed and flowed over the years, generally speaking, the figures suggest not much has changed.

Julienne Stroeve, from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, said the hole in the ozone layer might be helping.

One of the reasons scientists think the Antarctic sea ice hasn't been decreasing like we see in the Arctic may in part be due to the ozone hole.

So the ozone hole results in stronger winds around the Antarctic continent that help push the ice away from the coast, and keeps it at the levels we've been seeing in the last several years.

– Julienne Stroeve