December 26. Scientists have determined that the following 2012 Antarctica has warmed much more than expected. Than it threatens humanity, no need to explain — the melting of huge ice masses can lead to a significant rise in global sea level.
Temperature record, recorded at the station Bird — scientific outpost in the heart of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) — shows an increase of 2.4 degrees Celsius in average temperatures since 1958 — that is three times faster than the average for all the world, and in half the time than predicted by past research. This means that summer in the Southern Hemisphere — December to February — has become hotter. Although the heat in Antarctica — it's still an average of less than minus 30 degrees Celsius. But in the summer months on the station Bird increasingly fixed at zero temperature — and it is a disturbing fact.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
"Our observations suggest that further warming in West Antarctica could lead to a disruption of the balance of the ice sheet, and as a result, the region will significantly affect the level of the sea, — said David Bromwich, professor of geography at Ohio State University and a senior fellow of the Research Center of the Arctic Bird. — And it's not a significant loss of ice mass directly, surface melting of the West Antarctic may affect sea levels indirectly. "
Andrew Monaghan, co-author of the study and a researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), said that this place is becoming one of the most rapidly warms regions on Earth.
Researchers believe that West Antarctica is particularly sensitive to climate change. And because the base of the ice sheet is below sea level, it is vulnerable to the direct contact with the warm ocean water.
Because of its location at a distance of about 700 km from the South Pole, the polar station Bird is an important place of climate measurements in the region.
Previously, researchers could conduct full investigations at the station, because the data were incomplete — not enough technical capability to observe simultaneously from multiple points, for all the years of the Bird almost a third temperature observation in vain. Since its inception in 1957, the station was not always populated — it is very distant from the "mainland" and from the coast. Byrd Station was established in 1980 and has to work all year round, but there were frequent power outages, especially during the long polar night.
David Bromwich and two of his graduate students to improve the situation through regular meteorological and glaciological measurements. The next step — to continue to measure and increase their scope.
"West Antarctica — one of the most rapidly changing areas on Earth, but it can also be classified as least-known — the professor said Brom. — Our study demonstrates the need for a reliable meteorological observation network across West Antarctica, so that we can get more information about what's going on and why. "
Scientists have observed an abnormal rise in temperature in West Antarctica
December 27. Attitude to the problem
Meanwhile, the data collected by the U.S. Antarctic
This is the so-called West Antarctic ice shield (
In the new
"In the past we have seen, it reduces the amount of
Thus, the West Antarctic ice sheet is particularly sensitive to climate change, since the base of the ice sheet is below sea level and is vulnerable to direct contact with the warmer ocean water. Statistics say that the melting of the West Glacier currently raises sea level by 0.3 mm per year. Although this figure is second only to Greenland (which adds to the melting of 0.7 mm per year), the figure will be a year-on-year to grow rapidly.
Scientists, because of insufficient knowledge of the region and the lack of data, yet do not know why such a rapid warming is happening in this part of Antarctica, so the search for the causes become a priority for researchers.