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Spatial and temporal variation of surface temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula and the limit of viability of ice shelves

Morris, Elizabeth M.; Vaughan, David G.. 2003 Spatial and temporal variation of surface temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula and the limit of viability of ice shelves. Antarctic Research Series, 79. 61-68. 10.1029/079ARS05

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Abstract/Summary

Mapping surface air temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula region is made unusually difficult by: the scarcity of meteorological stations, strong climatic gradients and recent rapid regional warming. We have compiled a database of 534 mean annual temperatures derived from measurements of snow temperature at around 10-m depth and air temperature measured at meteorological stations and automatic weather stations. These annual temperatures were corrected for interannual variability using a composite record from six stations across the region. The corrected temperatures were then analysed using multiple linear regression to yield altitudinal and temporal lapse rates. A subset of 508 values were then used to produce a map of temperature reduced to sea level and for a specific epoch (2000 A.D.). The map shows the dramatic climate contrast (3-5degreesC) between the east and west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula in greater detail than earlier studies and also indicates that the present limit of ice shelves closely follows the -9degreesC (2000 A.D.) isotherm. Furthermore, the limit of ice shelves known to have retreated during the last 100 years is bounded by the -9degreesC and -5degreesC (2000 A.D.) isotherms, suggesting that the retreat of ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula region is consistent with a warming of around similar to 4 degrees C.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/079ARS05
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Global Interactions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet
ISSN: 0066-4634
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Glaciology
Date made live: 22 Feb 2012 09:05
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/12803

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