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Liz Thomas (BAS) – Antarctic climate variability during the 20th century – lessons from ice cores
May 8 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Antarctica experienced considerable climate change during the late 20th century. The Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica were among the fastest warming regions on earth, with extensive thinning of fast flowing glaciers directly contributing to global sea levels. However, the observational record for Antarctica and the southern ocean is short. Few instrumental records extend beyond the 1960s and much of our understanding is limited to the satellite era (post 1979). Thus it is hard to assess the significance of these recently observed changes and establish the drivers of climate variability over decadal to centennial scales. I will demonstrate the fundamental role that ice cores have played in reconstructing Antarctic climate variability during the 20th century and beyond. Focusing on two recent ice core reconstructions of Antarctic surface mass balance and surface temperature. I will explore the relationship between sea ice, snowfall and temperature, with an emphasis on the Antarctic Peninsula.