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Variations of surface air temperature and sea-ice extent in the western Antarctic Peninsula region

  • Raymond C. Smith (a1) and Sharon E. Stammerjohn (a1)

Abstract

The western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region has experienced a statistically significant warming trend during the past half-century. In addition, a statistically significant anticorrelation between air temperatures and sea-ice extent, as determined from satellite passive-microwave data during the past two decades, has been observed for this region. Consistent with this strong coupling, sea-ice extent in the WAP area has trended down during this period of satellite observations. Further, much of the variability in both air temperature and sea ice in the WAP region has been shown to be influenced by contrasting maritime (warm, moist) and continental (cold, dry) climate regimes. As part of the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research program, the ecological influence of these trends and variability is being studied, and effects have already been demonstrated at all trophic levels. Here we extend earlier observations to include the past decade and focus on the annual cycles of air temperature and sea-ice extent for the past few years, with the aim of placing these recent observations within the context of changes seen in the longer-term records. The more recent years have seen an increasing maritime influence in the WAP region, with corresponding effects on the marine ecosystem.

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Variations of surface air temperature and sea-ice extent in the western Antarctic Peninsula region

  • Raymond C. Smith (a1) and Sharon E. Stammerjohn (a1)

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