Climate Change and Its Implications for Cruise Tourism in the Polar Regions
Since the Industrial Revolution some 250 years ago, the Earth’s climate has unmistakably changed. Global mean temperature has risen by around 0.76°C since the end of the 19th century. £e Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) recently stated that the ‘warming of the climate system is unequivocal’. £e IPCC also claims that the e¢ects of climate change are most heavily felt at high latitudes, where there is relatively little human activity. £e polar regions are particularly a¢ected by climate warming, especially the Arctic region and the Antarctic Peninsula (ACIA, 2005; Johnston, 2006). Changes predicted include decreased sea ice, warmer and shorter winters, thawing permafrost and changes in wildlife populations. Average winter temperatures in the Arctic have already increased by 3° over the past 60 years and the sea ice extent has reduced by 10 per cent over the last 30 years (ACIA, 2005). In the Antarctic Peninsula annual mean temperatures have risen by about 2° in the past 50 years, resulting in the loss of seven ice shelves (Clarke and Harris, 2003).