Talk by Nerilie Abram

Climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula over the last millennium

by Nerilie Abram
Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University

The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than any other region of the Southern Hemisphere over the past 50 years. But the short observational records of Antarctic climate don’t allow for an understanding of how unusual this recent climate warming may be? A highly resolved ice core record from James Ross Island on the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula is used to provided valuable perspectives on the rapid climate and environmental changes being witnessed in the region. The isotope-derived temperature reconstruction allows for a statistical assess of the Antarctic Peninsula temperature changes, showing that the rate of recent warming is unusually fast. Using the isotope record in conjunction with a network of other palaeoclimate records from Antarctica and South America we are also able to reconstruct the history of the southern ocean westerly winds over the last millennium to examine the processes driving climate changes on the Antarctic Peninsula. Visible melt layers in the James Ross Island ice core also yield a unique insight into the response of ice melt to the Antarctic Peninsula’s changing climate over the last 1000 years, with implications for future ice shelf and ice sheet stability in the region.