News

The South Pole has been warming at more than three times the global average over the past 30 years

Close

The South Pole has been warming at more than three times the global average over the past 30 years, according to research led by Ohio University professor Ryan Fogt and OHIO alumnus Kyle Clem.

advertisement

Fogt, professor of meteorology and director of the Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis, and Clem coauthored a paper with an international team of scientists published in the journal Nature Climate Change on the findings. According to the study, this warming period was mainly driven by natural tropical climate variability and was likely intensified by increases in greenhouse gas.

Clem, a current postdoctoral research fellow in climate science at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, is the lead author of the study and studied under Fogt for both his bachelor s and master s degrees at Ohio University.

"I ve had a passion for understanding the weather and fascination of its power and unpredictability as far back as I can remember," Clem said. "Working with Ryan I learned all about Antarctic and Southern Hemisphere climate, specifically how West Antarctica was warming and its ice sheet was thinning and contributing to global sea level rise. I also learned that Antarctica experiences some of the most extreme weather and variability on the planet, and due to its remote location we actually know very little about the continent, so there are constant surprises and new things to learn about Antarctica every year."

The Antarctic climate exhibits some of the largest ranges in temperature during the course of the year, and some of the largest temperature trends on the planet, with strong regional contrasts. Most of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula experienced warming and ice-sheet thinning during the late 20th century. By contrast, the South Pole -- located in the remote and high-altitude continental interior -- cooled until the 1980s and has since warmed substantially. These trends are affected by natural and anthropogenic climate change, but the individual contribution of each factor is not well understood.

Clem and his team analyzed weather station data at the South Pole, as well as climate models to examine the warming in the Antarctic interior. They found that between 1989 and 2018, the South Pole had warmed by about 1.8 degrees Celsius over the past 30 years at a rate of +0.6 degrees Celcius per decade -- three times the global average.

The study also found that the strong warming over the Antarctic interior in the last 30 years was mainly driven by the tropics, especially warm ocean temperatures in the western tropical Pacific Ocean that changed the winds in the South Atlantic near Antarctica and increased the delivery of warm air to the South Pole. They suggest these atmospheric changes along Antarctica s coast are an important mechanism driving climate anomalies in its interior.

Clem and Fogt argue that these warming trends were unlikely the result of natural climate change alone, emphasizing the effects of added anthropogenic warming on top of the large tropical climate signal on Antarctic climate have worked in tandem to make this one of the strongest warming trends worldwide.

"From the very beginning, Kyle and I worked very well together and were able to accomplish more as a team than we were individually," Fogt said. "We have published every year together since 2013, with one of our continuing collaborations being the annual State of the Climate reports. Our work on this project together each year ultimately led to this publication documenting the warming at the South Pole, however, most importantly for me, apart from being a fantastic scientist and collaborator, my family and I are both honored to consider Kyle one of our closest friends."

Materials provided by Ohio University . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Ohio University. "Extreme warming of the South Pole." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2020. .

Ohio University. "Extreme warming of the South Pole." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200630111324.htm (accessed June 30, 2020).

advertisement

1

June 30, 2020 — Over the past 150 years, global warming has more than undone the global cooling that occurred over the past six millennia, according to a major new study. The findings show that the millennial-scale ...

Sep. 6, 2018 — Fifty-six million years ago, Earth experienced an exceptional episode of global warming. Within 10,000 to 20,000 years, the average temperature increased by 5 to 8 degrees, only returning to its ...

Aug. 9, 2017 — Seas rose in the southeastern US between 2011 and 2015 by more than six times the global average sea level rise that is already happening due to human-induced global warming, new research shows. The ...

Dec. 6, 2016 — A new study of warming after the last ice age 20,000 years ago confirms climate models that predict an amplification of warming at the poles. By 15,000 years ago, the Antarctic had warmed about 11 ...
Read more on sciencedaily.com
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Science
Warming waters in the western tropical Pacific Ocean have significantly increased thunderstorms and rainfall, which may affect the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and global sea level rise, according...
Technology
Sometimes,  looking at the past is the best way to predict the future, and new research from a team of American geophysicists is doing just that. Their study , published in...
World
Floating ice off the southern continent steadily increased from 1979 and hit a record high in 2014. But three years later, the annual average extent of Antarctic sea ice hit...
World
By drilling down into the Antarctica ice sheet, an ice core can be extracted. It s an information packed cross section of the ice cap from the modern day to 900, 000 years...
Science
reddit The donut of sea ice encircling Antarctica is hovering around its yearly winter maximum area, and theres little question that its going to set a record high this year....