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Antarctic Research Features

Sixty Years of WarmingPublished this month in the Journal of Climate, a research team from the Department of Geography and Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State University investigated station temperature records across Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, which collectively are available only for the past 60 years. From 1957 to 2016, there is widespread warming across most of the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, but changes in Antarctica are inconsistent. Antarctic climate is dominated by the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) that describes the westerly winds around 60˚S, which can lead to cooler/warmer temperatures over the continent depending on the location and strength of the winds. After removing the influence of the SAM from station records, a uniform warming pattern emerges (see Figure a). Then, temperature change over Antarctica from climate models (see black line in Figure b) was compared to observations (see red line in Figure b), both with SAM influence removed, and it was found that the models are overpredicting the warming. The cause of this major discrepancy is under investigation. 

This study is published in the Journal of Climate:Sixty Years Warming2 Sixty years of widespread warming in the southern mid- and high-latitudes (1957-2016). Co-authors are Megan Jones, David Bromwich, Julien Nicolas, Jorge Carrasco, Eva Plavcová, Xun Zou, and Sheng-Hung Wang. 

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