While the rest of world has warmed, Antarctica has grown chillier, scientists say. According to a new study, air temperature on the southernmost continent fell by 0.7 degree Celsius per decade between 1986 and 2000 - a cooling trend that has come with ecological consequences.
The findings may come as a surprise to climate researchers. Conventional wisdom holds that the polar regions should be the first to show the effects of global warming. And previous work has indeed detected increased temperatures in Antarctica. But those studies, Peter T. Doran of the University of Illinois and colleagues note, used data collected from the Antarctic Peninsula, which extends north toward South America. Doran and his team, in contrast, analyzed a 14-year continuous weather station record from a cold, snow-less desert known as the dry valleys region—the continent’s largest ice-free area. The results of that analysis, in combination with a 35-year continental temperature compilation, suggest that temperature readings from the more numerous Peninsula stations have misrepresented the situation. "Our approach," Doran remarks, "shows that if you remove the Peninsula from the data set and look at the spatial trend, the majority of the continent is cooling."
Furthermore, the observed cooling is seasonal, affecting summer and fall temperatures the most. Summer cooling can have an especially dramatic impact on the organisms in Antarctica’s fragile terrestrial ecosystems, where liquid water is of limited availability. In fact, the continent’s cooling trend already appears to have affected life in the dry valleys, the researchers note. Decreased productivity of the region’s lakes may well stem from a climate-induced increase in lake ice thickness, which cuts down on the amount of light that reaches the resident phytoplankton. Changes in the abundance of soil-dwelling invertebrates have occurred as well, the team reports, declining in some cases by 10 percent per year. Prolonged summer cooling, the investigators thus propose, "will diminish aquatic and soil biological assemblages throughout the valleys and possibly in other terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems."
Kate Wong | Scientific American
Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?
06.08.2020 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Rock debris protects glaciers from climate change more than previously known
05.08.2020 | Northumbria University
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences