Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest and windiest continent on earth. The lowest temperature yet recorded by ground measurements for the Antarctic Region, and for the whole world, was -89.2°C at Vostok station on 21 July 1983. But how warm does it get? That was the question posed last year to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations funded body that oversees meteorology and weather observations worldwide. A New Zealand scientist was part of an international group of experts who have identified the highest temperatures ever recorded in Antarctica.
Stronger winds, increased warming, ocean acidification and declining sea ice have been identified as major threats to some of the keystone members of the Southern Ocean community – phytoplankton. A recent review, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, predicts the likely impact of climate change on phytoplankton across various regions in the Southern Ocean.
Antarctic starfish can possibly bequeath the adaptation to warmer and more acidic oceans to their offspring. Laboratory experiments showed that the adaptation to changing environmental conditions can be passed on to the next generation through changed gene expression.
Tiny ocean fossils distributed widely across rock surfaces in the Transantarctic Mountains point to the potential for a substantial rise in global sea levels under conditions of continued global warming, according to a new study.
Human-induced global warming began much earlier than previously thought. New research suggests that warming started about 180 years ago near the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Researchers in Australia found evidence for the early onset of warming after analysing 500 years of climate data from ice cores, corals, sediment layers and tree rings.
The Antarctic ice sheet and its response to climate change has received increased attention over the last couple of years. Now it becomes clear, that choices that the world makes this century could determine the fate of this massive layer of ice covering Antarctica. A study published in Nature finds that continued growth in greenhouse-gas emissions over the next several decades could trigger an unstoppable collapse of Antarctica’s ice — raising sea levels by more than a meter by 2100 and more than 15 meters by 2500.
So far considered “a sleeping giant” the East Antarctic Ice Sheet could melt if carbon dioxide levels keep increasing a new study warns. Carbon dioxide levels above 600 parts per million could induce a rapid melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet adding several tenths of meters of sea level rise a new study says.
Over past decades, the mean temperature on the Earth’s surface has been noticeably rising. What we call “climate warming” is to a large extent due to anthropogenic emissions of CO2 that amplify the natural greenhouse effect. Observations, though, show that there has been hardly or almost no increase in the surface temperature of inland Antarctica over the same period. Scientists from the University of Bremen and the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven have been trying to find out why Antarctica should constitute an exception to the global greenhouse effect. They have now published the results of their research based on satellite surveys and radiative transfer calculations in an article for the journal “Geophysical Research Letters”.
In the last 30,000 years there was, at times, more mixing in the Southern Ocean than previously thought. This meant that vast quantities of nutrients were available to phytoalgae, which in turn contributed to storing the greenhouse gas CO2 during the last glacial period. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) present these new findings in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
A decade ago scientists feared that the ability of the Southern Ocean to absorb additional atmospheric CO2 would soon be stalled. But the analysis of more recent observations show that this carbon sink reinvigorated during the past decade.