Climate change in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1945: observations and possible causes

Temperature records from stations on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula show a very high level of interannual variability and, over the last 50 years, larger warming trends than are seen elsewhere in Antarctica. In this paper we investigate the role of atmospheric circulation variability and sea-ice extent variations in driving these changes. Owing to a lack of independent data, the reliability of Antarctic atmospheric analyses produced in the 1950s and 1960s cannot be readily established, but examination of the available data suggests that there has been an increase in the northerly component of the circulation over the Peninsula since the late 1950s. Few observations of sea-ice extent are available prior to 1973, but the limited data available indicate that the ice edge to the west of the Peninsula lay to the north of recently observed extremes during the very cold conditions prevailing in the late 1950s. The ultimate cause of the atmospheric circulation changes remains to be determined and may lie outside the Antarctic region.


Publication status:
Authors: King, J.C. ORCIDORCID record for J.C. King, Harangozo, S.A.

On this site: John King
1 January, 1998
Annals of Glaciology / 27