The Southwest Atlantic To West Antarctic Peninsula Region Has Been Cooling Since The 1990s

Scientists continue to document a sea surface cooling in the vast waters above Antarctica.

As recently as a few thousand years ago the Sub-Antarctic (South Georgia) region was 5 to 10°C warmer than it is today (Xia et al., 2020).

Image Source: Xia et al., 2020

About 1,000 years ago (the Medieval Warm Period) Antarctica was still “substantially warmer than present” and the Southern Ocean waters were sufficiently ice-free that elephant seals could breed in the Ross Sea, or near the coast of south-central Antarctica’s Victoria Land.

Today this region is so much colder and the sea ice so thick that elephant seals must travel 2,400 kilometers north of where they used to breed 1,000 years ago just to find sea ice-free waters (Koch et al., 2019Hall et al., 2006).

Image Source: Koch et al., 2019

Image Source: Hall et al., 2006

And now some new studies (Atkinson et al., 2022, Toolsee and Lamont, 2022) document a cooling/non-warming  trend in the southwest Atlantic and/or Sub-Antarctic region has commenced in the last few decades. The cooling follows a long-term warming trend that lasted from the 1920s to 1990s.

Image Source: Atkinson et al., 2022
Image Source: Toolsee and Lamont, 2022

via NoTricksZone

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May 19, 2022 at 09:30AM

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