Record warming at the South Pole during the past three decades

Over the last three decades, the South Pole has experienced a record-high statistically significant warming of 0.61 ± 0.34 °C per decade, more than three times the global average. Here, we use an ensemble of climate model experiments to show this recent warming lies within the upper bounds of the simulated range of natural variability. The warming resulted from a strong cyclonic anomaly in the Weddell Sea caused by increasing sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Pacific. This circulation, coupled with a positive polarity of the Southern Annular Mode, advected warm and moist air from the South Atlantic into the Antarctic interior. These results underscore the intimate linkage of interior Antarctic climate to tropical variability. Further, this study shows that atmospheric internal variability can induce extreme regional climate change over the Antarctic interior, which has masked any anthropogenic warming signal there during the twenty-first century.


Publication status:
Authors: Clem, Kyle R., Fogt, Ryan L., Turner, John ORCIDORCID record for John Turner, Lintner, Benjamin R., Marshall, Gareth J. ORCIDORCID record for Gareth J. Marshall, Miller, James R., Renwick, James A.

On this site: Gareth Marshall, John Turner
29 June, 2020
Nature Climate Change / 10
18pp / 762-770
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