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Word Count: 610
If all the ice in Antarctica melted it would raise the level of the worlds oceans by over 200 feet 60 meters The possibility of this happening in the near term is not seriously considered by scientists for the Antarctic icecap is currently believed to be in equilibrium However meteorologists studying the ramifications of global warming and the greenhouse effect expect there to be a decrease in sea levels in the short term -- a matter of decades -- of about 2 millimeters per year This will be due to an increase in the amount of water vapor in the air as a result of higher air temperatures and will lead to greater snow fall on the continent Over the longer term higher global air temperatures are expected to generate higher icecap flow rates and more ice-bergs which are expected to raise sea-level by of 3 feet or about a meter in the next century While such a rise does not seem a significant one its effects could be devastating -- displacing more than 100 million people in low-lying coastal areas around the world Accompanying this rise in sea level would be increased winter temperatures and warmer hot spells increased rainfall and flooding and overall unpredictable shifting of temperature and rainfall patterns that could wreak havoc with agriculture natural ecosystems and other daunting effectsWithout the protective covering of our atmosphere the Earth would be an inhospitable place But looked at from a distance the thickness of the atmosphere relative to the planets size has been compared to the skin of an apple It is more fragile than we usually believe and until the discovery of the thinning of the ozone layer we took our air for grantedIn 1985 scientists discovered that more than half the ozone was being lost from the stratosphere over Antarctica each spring following the return of the sun to the polar ice cap After three years of intense study the culprit
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