Temperature Variations and Changes Over the Antarctic Peninsula

Faculty Mentor

Jing Zhang, Ph.D.


Department of Physics

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019




There has been a significant amount of warming on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) since the 1950s. In fact, the warming is so significant and known as the most rapidly warming area in the Southern Hemisphere. There is no set reason yet why this happens. With literature reviews, the possible causes of warming have been explored. It is found the enhanced South Atlantic high and deepened Amundsen Sea low can lead to a warming trend across the west coast of the AP due to the enhanced northerly flow (warm advection) brought by these two pressure systems. NOAA’s Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite retrievals were used to detect the temperature variations over the AP for the period of 1982-2000, it is found that the satellite retrieved temperatures correlate well with the station observations over the AP particularly for the cold season with less cloud cover. Also, the temperature of the east coast of the AP correlates poorly with the temperatures on the west coast. In a synthesis study of Antarctic temperatures, the warming trend over the AP is more significant in the months from March to August. In conclusion, even though there is no concluded reason why there is a significant warming trend in the area of AP, however, different simulation experiments can be designed to further explore the AP warming based on the possible mechanisms given by the early studies.

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