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AGU journal highlights -- Jan. 28, 2008
Date:1/28/2008

1. A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850

The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced a dramatic change in climate over the past 50 years (the period of observational record), with annual temperatures increasing and many ice shelves on the fringes of the peninsula disintegrating. Despite this, some records from the peninsula show that the number of days with snowfall has increased by at least 62 days since 1950. To extend knowledge of climate dynamics beyond the 50-year observation record, Thomas et al. analyze data from a new ice core drilled at Gomez, a site of high snow accumulation on the Antarctic Peninsula. On the basis of these data, the authors find that snow accumulation has doubled since the 1850s, representing the largest increase observed across the region. Through comparing Gomez records with the behavior of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), a dominant cycle of atmospheric variability in the Southern Hemisphere, the authors suggest that SAM circulation patterns have shifted to bring warm moist air to the region, causing an increase in snow accumulation as this air cools.

Title: A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850

Authors: Elizabeth R. Thomas and Gareth J. Marshall: British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, U.K.;

Joseph R. McConnell: Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, U.S.A.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2007GL032529, 2007; http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007GL032529


2. More wildfires expected in boreal forests as the climate warms: Good news for larch

As temperatures continue to warm due to anthropogenic climate change, scientists are focusing on how plants are beginning to respond, especially in northern areas. Kharuk et al. studied larch, a deciduous pine widespread in Russia from the tundra zone in the nort
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Contact: Peter Weiss
pweiss@agu.org
202-777-7507
American Geophysical Union
Source:Eurekalert

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