The South Pole has been bearing the brunt of the effects of global warming for several decades, with a clear acceleration since the 2000s. This has triggered a series of consequences that have disrupted the entire functioning of the Antarctic continent and its oceans. Discover the main 5.
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A team of researchers has recently published a report on all the changes AntarcticAntarctic Since the start of satellite measurements, in the log pioneer in environmental science, among the many consequences of Global warmingGlobal warming5 signs leave scientists in no doubt about the evolution of Antarctica.
The season is marked by heat waves and bands of rain.
wave of HeatHeat Most extreme event in Antarctica since records began weather reportweather report This is March 2022: the temperature rose to +38.5 °C (a record summer of -11.5 °C was recorded) compared to the normal temperature at that time when an atmospheric river, a rainband associated with tropical heat, was formed. In recent years there has been an increase in periods of abnormal heat in Antarctica, and it averages one per year. hole in the ozone layerhole in the ozone layerDiscovered in the 1980s, it still has an effect on the weather, despite being in its infancy. ForgivenessForgiveness, climatologistclimatologist believe in trafficAtmosphereAtmosphere was so upset that inconsistenciesinconsistencies Could last for many decades: This has increased the temperature of the earth even more peninsulapeninsula Localized cooling over Antarctica (the northernmost region) and east of Antarctica.
Sea ice has been unusually weak for the past 7 years
Sea ice plays a fundamental role in the polar oceans. This prevents the currents from mixing and therefore limits the penetration of heat into the water, but also provides a habitat for many species. The extent of this sea ice, which has been measured since 1978, varies throughout the year, with a minimum in late February and a maximum in September. After experiencing record maximum range in 2014, it faced record minimum range in 2017, followed by 4 weakest years (till 2022). Determining the extent of sea ice even with satellite measurements remains a challenge, and therefore more than measurements of a specific year, its overall evolution over time must be taken into account. Despite discrepancies in the data, all climatologists agree that sea ice has weakened over the past 7 years.
There are warm air reserves in the ocean
The Antarctic Ocean is not the most affected by underwater heat waves, but 19 unusual heat events have been recorded between 2002 and 2018. This heat is not uniform and large regional differences exist. Satellites have identified a “pocket” of warm water in some parts of the ocean, and it is affecting weather circulation by changing direction ventsvents, All climate forecast models envisage the multiplication of underwater heat waves in this ocean.
Ice barriers are regularly collapsing
packed ice cubes, called ice blockers or ice platformice platform ,ice cabinets In English), over 50 years are getting smaller and easier to dismantle. Satellites showed them to be fairly stable before the series in the 1990sfallfall in the 2000s. SourceSource This was followed extensively between 2019 and 2020. Also linked to global warming emissionsemissions Because of greenhouse gases, this process warming is exacerbated by El Niño events, which occur in phases as of 2023.
Glaciers are melting and the soil is bare
Earth’s ice is melting so fast that many lakes have formed terraceterrace This last year. The most affected area is the Antarctic Peninsula, where glaciers retreated rapidly between 1995 and 2002. Only 0.2 to 0.4% of the Antarctic continent is not covered by ice, but this area increases every year. Strong winds then blow dust from snow-free areas onto still-glaciated areas: ColourColour darkness that then covers part of it glaciersglaciers melts them even faster under the rays of SoleilSoleil,