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Antarctic Winds Strongest in at least 1,000 Years May 23, 2014
Antarctic vortex graphic
The red bands indicate the path of the strongest winds of the Antarctic vortex, now the strongest in 1,000 years.
Powerful winds blowing around Antarctica are the strongest in 1,000 years and are being made even speedier by climate change, scientists say.

They also point out that the Antarctic vortex is insulating the icy continent from the global warming that is affecting most other parts of the planet.

Earlier research indicated that the ozone hole above Antarctica was causing the circumpolar winds to get stronger.

However, Nerilie Abram and her colleagues from the Australian National University found that global warming has been a big factor in strengthening the winds since the 1940s.

She says the stronger winds are also dragging winter rains away from Western Australia, making the state drier.

Abrams says the surge in strength of the Antarctic vortex started in the 1940s, decades before manmade chemicals began eating away at the ozone hole.

Photo: NOAA