Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fall warming on Antarctic Peninsula driven by tropically forced circulation

Date:
May 15, 2013
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
New research shows that, in recent decades, fall is the only period of extensive warming over the entire Antarctic Peninsula, and it is mostly from atmospheric circulation patterns originating in the tropics.

A German research vessel, Polarstern, is shown off the Rothera station on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Rothera is one of eight stations that provided temperature data for this research.
Credit: Hannes Grobe/Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

The eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, a finger of the southern polar continent that juts toward South America, has experienced summer warming of perhaps a half-degree per decade -- a greater rate than possibly anywhere else on Earth -- in the last 50 years, and that warming is largely attributed to human causes.

Related Articles


But new University of Washington research shows that the Southern Hemisphere's fall months -- March, April and May -- are the only time when there has been extensive warming over the entire peninsula, and that is largely governed by atmospheric circulation patterns originating in the tropics.

The autumn warming also brings a notable reduction in sea ice cover in the Bellingshausen Sea off the peninsula's west coast, and more open water leads to warmer temperatures on nearby land in winter and spring (June through November), said Qinghua Ding, a UW research associate in Earth and space sciences. In fact, the most significant warming on the west side of the peninsula in recent decades has occurred during the winter.

"Local northerly wind pushes warmer air from midlatitudes of the Southern Ocean to the peninsula, and the northern wind favors warming of the land and sea ice reduction," said Ding.

He is the lead author of a paper explaining the findings, published online this month in the Journal of Climate. Eric Steig, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, is co-author. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The scientists analyzed temperature data gathered from 1979 through 2009 at eight stations on the Antarctic Peninsula. The stations were selected because each has reliable monthly data for at least 95 percent of the study period. They also used two different sets of data, one from Europe and the other from NASA, that combine surface observations, satellite temperature data and modeling.

The researchers concluded that the nonsummer Antarctic Peninsula warming is being driven by large-scale atmospheric circulation originating in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. There, the warm sea surface generates an atmospheric phenomenon called a Rossby wave train, which reaches the Antarctic Peninsula and alters the local circulation to warm the region.

The sea-surface temperature trend in the tropical Pacific is related to natural phenomena such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (El Niño and La Niña) and cycles that occur on longer timescales, sometimes decades. But it is not clear whether human causes play a role in that trend.

"We still lack a very clear understanding of the tropical natural variability, of what that dynamic is," Ding said.

He said that in the next two or three decades it is quite possible that natural variability and forcing from human factors will play equivalent roles in temperature changes on the Antarctic Peninsula, but after that the forcing from human causes will likely play a larger role.

"If these trends continue, we will continue to see warming in the peninsular region, there is no doubt," Ding said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Vince Stricherz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Qinghua Ding, Eric J. Steig. Temperature change on the Antarctic Peninsula linked to the tropical Pacific. Journal of Climate, 2013; 130506141914009 DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00729.1

Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Fall warming on Antarctic Peninsula driven by tropically forced circulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515131437.htm>.
University of Washington. (2013, May 15). Fall warming on Antarctic Peninsula driven by tropically forced circulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515131437.htm
University of Washington. "Fall warming on Antarctic Peninsula driven by tropically forced circulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515131437.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins