In recent years, there has been an unprecedented level of interest in the climate and environmental conditions of the polar regions. The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, record low levels of Arctic sea ice, loss of ice from the Greenland ice sheet, the disintegration of a number of floating ice shelves around the Antarctic Peninsula and the high levels of aerosols reaching the Arctic, have all been reported by the media. Moreover, climate model predictions\ud indicate that high-latitude areas will warm more than any other region over the next century as a result of increasing levels of greenhouse gases. It remains to be seen, however, whether the rapid climatic fluctuations\ud in the polar regions over the last few centuries and millennia are in fact a result of natural climate variability. It is important, therefore, to try to separate the impacts of natural climate variability from those of\ud human activity
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