South Pole Is Warming Three Times Faster Than Global Average
The South Pole has been warming at more than three times the global average over the past three decades, a new study has found.
Scientists have known for years that the outer regions of Antarctica are warming. However, they previously thought the South Pole was isolated from rising global temperatures as a result of it being located deep in Antarctica’s interior.
The study, published by researchers at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday, June 29, contradicts this. Its results suggest this will have huge implications for the rising global sea levels, marine life in the region and the melting of Antarctic ice sheets.
Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the study gives an insight into the most remote region on Earth.
‘This highlights that global warming is global and it’s making its way to these remote places,’ Kyle Clem, postdoctoral research fellow in Climate Science at the University of Wellington and lead author of the study, said, as per CNN.
Clem and his team analysed weather station data at the South Pole between the years 1989 and 2018, as well as climate models to examine the warming in the Antarctic interior.
The results showed that over this period, the South Pole had warmed by approximately 1.8°C at a rate of +0.6 °C per decade. In simple terms, it had warmed three times faster than the global average.
The scientists argued these warming trends are ‘unlikely’ the result of natural climate variability alone. Instead, the effects of human-made climate change appear to have worked alongside the significant influence natural variability in the tropics has on Antarctica’s climate.
‘Together they make the south pole warming one of the strongest warming trends on Earth,’ Clem wrote for The Guardian.
The team found one cause of the warming to be increasing sea surface temperatures thousands of miles away; over the past 30 years, warming in the western tropical Pacific Ocean meant there was an increase in warm air being carried to the South Pole.
However, the team are unable to determine how much this significant warming is down to human-caused warming. ‘The Antarctic interior is one of the few places left on Earth where human-caused warming cannot be precisely determined,’ Clem explained.
This means it’s impossible for the scientists to say whether, or for how long, the warming will continue as the temperature variability is so extreme it currently masks human-caused effects.
Ultimately though, the study was able to show that ‘extreme and abrupt’ climate shifts are part of the Antarctica’s interior, and these will likely continue into the future.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]