Tropical air drives Antarctic Peninsula’s fall warming

By on May 22, 2013
A research vessel, off the Rothera station, one of eight stations that provided temperature data for the study (Credit: Hannes Grobe/Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research)

University of Washington researchers have determined that most of the warming experienced by the Antarctic Peninsula occurs annually in March, April and May, according to a release. The peninsula is warming at a rate that beats the global average.

Most of the warming has been attributed to human causes and data for summer warming has shown it rising a half-degree per decade. But the fall warming, researchers say, extends across the entire peninsula and comes mostly from atmospheric circulation patterns originating in the tropics.

The researchers analyzed temperature data gathered from 1979 through 2009 at eight observation stations on the peninsula. They also used surface observations, satellite temperature data and modeling from European sources and NASA.

Image: A research vessel, off the Rothera station, one of eight stations that provided temperature data for the study (Credit: Hannes Grobe/Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research)

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