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GEO Year Book 2003  
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Polar sea ice extent
Environmental pollution
Stratospheric ozone depletion in antarctica
Exploitation of natural resources
Challenges for the future

Atmospheric emissions, environmental pollution, and the impacts of activities associated with the exploitation of natural resources had negative impacts on the Polar Regions

Key Facts
  • Inuit populations in Greenland and Canada were found to have one of the highest environmental exposures in the world to some persistent organic pollutants and mercury.
  • An analysis of satellite data indicated that Arctic sea ice has retreated by 900 000 km2 – an area the size of Nigeria – over the last 30 years.
  • The stratospheric ozone hole over Antarctica peaked in size
    at 28 million km2 in mid-September 2003, the second largest value on record.
Sources: AMAP 2003a, BAS 2003a and 2003b, Cavalieri and others 2003

Evidence continued to emerge in 2003 that average temperatures in the Arctic were rising even more rapidly than the global average. Satellite data indicated that the rate of the surface temperature increase over the last 20 years was eight times the global average over the last 100 years (Comiso 2003).


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