South Pole has warmed at over 3 times the global rate for decades, scientists say

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 30, 2020

During the same period, on the other hand, the warming in West Antarctica had suddenly stopped and the Antarctic Peninsula had even begun cooling.

This, in turn, had increased the flow of warm air directly over the South Pole, warming it by more than 1.83C (3.3F) since 1989.

Temperatures can vary greatly over the Antarctic continent.

One of the researchers involved, Victoria University's Dr Kyle Clem, says they used to think the Antarctic plateau was safe from the warming.

The data revealed the most remote spot on Earth was now warming at a rate of approximately 0.6C (1.1F) a decade.

The researchers say this is the result of number of elements, though the exact contribution of each is hard to determine.

The warm ocean temperatures in the western tropical Pacific Ocean lowers atmospheric over the Weddell Sea, which drives warm air towards the South Pole.

The team found that several of the South Pole's warmest years correlated with unusually warm temperatures in the tropics, and almost 20 percent of the temperature variations at the South Pole across the period studied could be linked to ocean temperatures in that region. Here, the change came more rapidly from the start of the 2000s.

Authors of the research said the natural warming trend was likely boosted by manmade greenhouse gas emissions and could be masking the heating effect of carbon pollution over the South Pole.

"Over the full range of all possible 30-year trends in climate models without anthropogenic greenhouse gases, the observed warming lies in the upper 0.1 per cent, meaning it is extremely rare and that the recent warming was probably pushed to such an extreme level by anthropogenic forcing". They conclude that increasing greenhouse gas levels have worked in tandem with tropical variability to generate one of the "strongest warming trends on the planet", even greater than that observed in the Arctic, which is warming at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the planet.

He said: "While the warming was just within the natural variability of climate models, it was highly likely human activity had contributed".

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