The climate of the Antarctic Peninsula during the 20th century- evidence from ice cores
The Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is a region of special climatological interest.
The late twentieth century has been a period of warming surface temperatures,
enhanced mass loss from melting glaciers and increased snowfall, which have a
direct and measurable impact on global sea levels. However, the observational
period for Antarctica is short. Observational records only began in the 1940s and
much of our understanding of the wider spatial climate variability and glacial
dynamics is limited to the satellite era (post 1979). Proxy records, such as those
from ice cores, provide an invaluable tool to place these recent changes in context
of the past few hundred years, allowing us to investigate climate variability over
the entire twentieth century and beyond. In this chapter we review the climate of
the AP during the twentieth century, as captured by the instrumental records, and
extend our understanding of climate variability over the twentieth century based
on climate proxies contained in ice cores. For this study we focus on stable water
isotopes and snow accumulation and how they are influenced by changes in atmospheric
circulation and sea ice conditions.