Why is Antarctica a good place to study climate change?

Certain environments are important for study because they may have organisms or a certain climate that other areas do not have. This is the case with the Antarctic - both the animals that live there now, and the fossils that have been collected from the Antarctic Peninsula. Because the water is so cold off of the Antarctic coast, the organisms that live in these shallow waters are very similar to those that inhabit much deeper waters in other parts of the world. These animals are specially adapted for the particular environment and the cold climate. Ecosystems like these are very sensitive to any changes in their environment. This makes them very useful for research - a tiny increase in global temperature may not result in any major changes in marine ecosystems in many parts of the world, but it could have a very drastic impact on organisms living near Antarctica!

Crinoids such as this one are used to help study ancient climates.