The temperature of ocean waters around Antarctica is rising, according to new research conducted by a team of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) scientists and a colleague from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in the United States.
Their findings, published today in the journal Nature Geoscience, are the first to show that the warming Southern Ocean temperatures over the past several decades are directly and primarily the result of increases in man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A drop in atmospheric ozone levels associated with the ozone hole is also contributing to warming.
The scientists combined an analysis of all available historical data with an advanced computer model, developed by ECCC. They also found that the waters around Antarctica are becoming less salty, consistent with known shifts in Southern Hemisphere rainfall patterns.
According to ECCC the Southern Ocean has been warming at about twice the average rate of the global ocean. GHG increases are the most important driver along with ozone depletion but ozone recovery from implementation of the Montreal Protocol, should diminish the impact on the Southern Ocean.
The publication follows closely on the heels of the meeting of G7 ministers hosted by Canada on September 19 to 21, 2018 to discuss global climate action and the health of the world’s oceans.
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