An international team of scientists reports that the South Pole has warmed to over three times the global rate since 1989.
The team, which includes scientists from Victoria University of Wellington, analyzed data from weather stations and climate models to examine temperature changes at the South Pole.
Combination of factors
Research findings suggest warming is driven (largely) by natural climate, and intensified by increases in greenhouse gases. Now the data can help us improve mathematical models. Schemes used to observe, analyze and predict climate change in the Antarctic.
The Antarctic climate shows some of the greatest temperature changes over the course of a year, with strong regional contrasts. Most of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula experienced warming and thinning of the ice sheet in the late XNUMXth century.
The South Pole between ups and downs
The South Pole has a "troubled" history. It cooled down until the 80s, but then it warmed up considerably. These trends are influenced by natural and anthropogenic climate change, but the individual contribution of each factor is not yet well understood.
Kyle Clem and colleagues tried to understand something by carefully analyzing the weather station data. Producing reports and climate models to examine the warming trend of the South Pole.
Finally, discovering that the strong warming of the Antarctic interior over the past 30 years has been mainly driven by the tropics (warm ocean temperatures in the western tropical Pacific Ocean). They lowered atmospheric pressure over the Weddell Sea (South Atlantic at high latitude) and increased the influx of hot air to the South Pole.
Still, the main culprit has an accomplice
The authors argue that given these warming trends in relation to those of global warming they are unlikely to be the result of natural climate change alone.
The effects of anthropogenic warming probably worked in tandem with Nature. A bad match that has produced one of the strongest warming trends on Earth. At midday the South Pole is now over 18 degrees centigrade. And the role of man, at least in this case, is still to be discovered.