Coach House Geography

Interesting Geography stuff for InterHigh

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 14 other followers

Why Antarctica isn’t melting much – yet

Posted by Lindy on January 13, 2010


http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18364-why-antarctica-isnt-melting-much–yet.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=environment

Antarctica is warming, but not melting anything like as much as expected. In fact, during the continent’s summer this time last year, there was less melting than at any time in the 30 years that we have had reliable satellite measurements of the region.

The continent’s winters and springs have warmed the most, but it is still too cold to allow any melting. Melting in Antarctica can only take place in the summers, which have warmed very little.

The main factor in Summer warming depends on the strength of the winds that circle the continent. Circumpolar winds act as a barrier to warm air. They have become stronger over the past four decades, effectively sealing off most of the continent each summer from the effects of global warming.

What is really paradoxical is that the circumpolar winds appear to have strengthened because the ozone layer in the stratosphere has thinned. This has made the lower stratosphere cooler and generated stronger winds beneath. But as the ozone hole heals in the coming decades, the winds may weaken, the continent will become much warmer in summer – and melting will increase.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: