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

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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.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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