Antarctic Climate Change Impact – Climate Change in West Antarctic Peninsula

 aguila(GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L19604, doi:10.1029/2005GL024042, 2005) - Meredith, M. P., and J. C. King (2005), Rapid climate change in the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula during the second half of the 20th century, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19604, doi:10.1029/2005GL024042.

Continuing with Tharos’ reports on climate change impact in the South Antarctic region, this is a 2005 research made by Michael P. Meredith and John C. King from them British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK .

This research confirms that the climate of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is the most rapidly changing in the Southern Hemisphere, with a rise in atmospheric temperature of nearly 3°C since 1951.

Researches demonstrated , for the first time, that the adjacent ocean showed profound coincident changes, with surface summer (Southern Hemisphere’s December-March) temperatures rising more than 1°C and a strong upper-layer salinification.

Initially driven by atmospheric warming and reduced rates of sea ice production, these changes constitute positive feedbacks that will contribute significantly to the continued climate change.

Marine species in this region have extreme sensitivities to their environment, with population and species removal predicted in response to very small increases in ocean temperature. The WAP region is an important breeding and nursery ground for Antarctic krill, a key species in the Southern Ocean foodweb with a known dependence on the physical environment. The changes observed thus have significant ecological implications.

The research shows 40-years (1955-1994) of decadal means of summer surface temperature anomalies and the significant negative anomalies close to the Antarctic Peninsula during the period 1955 – 64, a region that becomes progressively warmer during the sequence.

Trends in ocean summer temperature during 1955–1998, for four different depth levels (surface, 20 m, 50 m and 100 m) show significant warming trend observed close to the Antarctic.

Peninsula is strongly surface-intensified, decaying virtually

Full report at Rapid climate change in the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula during the second half of the 20th century