The South Pole heats up three times faster than the rest of the Earth

Illustration for the article entitled The South Pole is heating up three times faster than the rest of the Earth

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Hot air does not reach Antarctica. as easily as the rest of the world but a new study It has discovered that not even the South Pole is safe from the influences of human-powered climate change.

The study, published Monday in Nature Climate Change, found that, in the past three decades, the region has warmed three times more than the global rate. From 1989 to 2018, the region experienced the highest average warming trend in 30 years, with an increase of 0.61 ° C pdecade. The team of scientists analyzed data from 20 meteorological stationsTerm weather stations to measure warming trends. This finding is important because previously it appeared that “the South Pole was immune to warming,” author Kyle Clem, a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, told Earther.

“Our study shows that this is no longer the case,” said Clem. Furthermore, due to the short length of the temperature records and the few observations of the meteorological station in the interior of Antarctica, we really do not know much about this part of the planet. Here, we shed light on the fact that the interior of Antarctica is susceptible to sudden and extreme changes in the climate of several decades ”.

Along with the temperatureThe team analyzed atmospheric data and wind measurements to assess how much of this warming is beyond human influence and due to natural variability. It turns out that this rise in temperatures can be attributed to lower atmospheric pressure in the Weddell Sea, along the continent’s north coast, which is bringing more warm air from the South Atlantic to the South Pole. This is probably due to rising temperatures in the western tropical Pacific, As this event reduced pressure on the Weddell Sea in the climate models the team used.

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While the authors found that this level of warming is within the possible threshold of natural climate variability, they emphasize that human greenhouse gas emissions are exacerbating the situation. It is important to be careful when attributing climate warming events changeTed Scambos, a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder Earth Observation and Science Center who was not involved in the study, told Earther in an email.

“Despite the inclination to hang this tightly around the neck of global warming, we must be a little cautious, as the authors were in their article,” he said.

still study Author Clem told Earther that he is concerned that climate deniers and opponents of science may misinterpret these findings to fuel his agenda. The natural variability of the region makes it incredibly difficult to understand the role of humans in what is happening, but that does not mean that Antarctica is safe from climate change. Even more urgently, at no time do these findings suggest that climate change is not real.

“None of our results supports this kind of conclusion,” said Clem. “If anything, our results clearly demonstrate that humans probably play a role and may have caused more than half of the recent warming.”

Along with this extreme variability, the lack of temperature data for Antarctica complicates this investigation. Measurements started only in 1957. That is why the authors of this study relied heavily on simulations of climate models. This helped them better understand the role that climate change plays in transforming the region. Unfortunately, using models adds another limitation to the research, because they struggle to accurately simulate Antarctic sea ice. The amount of sea ice cover directly affects the level of warming; tthe more sea ice there is, the more SUN rays return to space. However, if there is less sea ice, more energy is absorbed. However, that does not diminish the value of this research and its findings. Science is rarely perfect, after all.

The research still leaves us with many questions, but Clem hopes that these findings will push world leaders and scientists to better prepare for the extreme temperature changes Antarctica is likely to face. In recent years, we have seen record loss of sea ice, green snow, and the break of icebergs. These changes can have global effects, especially when the ice melts. That can worsen sea level rise. However, much of Antarctica remains a mystery.. More scientists need to research the continent to really understand how climate change will alter it.