How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic


Antarctic Temperature Trends
Reference
Turner, J., Colwell, S.R., Marshall, G.J., Lachlan-Cope, T.A., Carleton, A.M., Jones, P.D., Lagun, V., Reid, P.A. and Iagovkina, S.  2005.  Antarctic climate change during the last 50 years.  International Journal of Climatology 25: 279-294.

What was done
The authors used a "new and improved" set of Antarctic climate data, which is described in detail by Turner et al. (2004), to examine "the temporal variability and change in some of the key meteorological parameters at Antarctic stations."

What was learned
Turner et al. describe the evident warming at low elevations on the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula as being "as large as any increase observed on Earth over the last 50 years," which at the Faraday (now Vernadsky) station amounts to about 2.5C.  However, they note that "the region of marked warming is quite limited and is restricted to an arc from the southwestern part of the peninsula, through Faraday to a little beyond the tip of the peninsula."

With respect to the bigger picture of the vast bulk of the continent, the nine climate scientists remark that "of the 19 stations examined in this study for which annual trends could be computed, 11 stations have experienced warming over their whole length, seven stations have cooled, and one station had too little data to allow an annual trend to be computed."  Considering that four of the stations that warmed are associated with the Antarctic Peninsula, however, there is little that can be said about the temperature trend of the entire continent, which issue they skillfully skirt.  However, they do report "there has been a broad-scale change in the nature of the temperature trends between 1961-90 and 1971-2000."  Specifically, they report that of the ten coastal stations that have long enough records to allow 30-year temperature trends to be computed for both of these periods, "eight had a larger warming trend (or a smaller cooling trend) in the earlier [our italics] period."  In fact, four of them changed from warming to cooling, as did the interior Vostok site; and at the South Pole the rate of cooling intensified by a factor of six.

What it means
Over the latter part of the 20th century, i.e., the period of time that climate alarmists claim was host to the most dramatic global warming of the past two millennia, fully 80% of the Antarctic coastal stations with sufficiently long temperature records reveal either (1) an intensification of cooling or (2) a reduced rate of warming; while four coastal sites and one interior site actually shifted from warming to cooling.  And this has occurred in one of the planet's two high-latitude polar regions where CO2-induced global warming is predicted to be most strongly expressed.  Clearly, there is a serious disconnect between reality and the virtual world of climate alarmists.

Reference
Turner, J., Colwell, S.R., Marshall, G.J., Lachlan-Cope, T.A., Carleton, A.M., Jones, P.D., Lagun, V., Reid, P.A. and Iagovkina, S.  2004.  The SCAR READER project: towards a high-quality database of mean Antarctic meteorological observations.  Journal of Climate 17: 2890-2898.

Reviewed 15 June 2005