Newly published research by Canadian scientists show a rapidly warming southern Antarctic Ocean. Melting ice and increasing rainfall are also contributing to decreasing salinity, or “freshening” of the southern ocean
Neil Swart (PhD) research scientist from Environment and Climate Change Canada led the team.Listen
What they discovered was the relation between greenhouse gas influence, along with ozone depletion’s influence
The research was published in the science journal, “Nature Geoscience” under the title, “Recent Southern Ocean warming and freshening driven by greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion” (abstract HERE)
The researchers found that the southern ocean is warming at twice the rate of global oceans beyond any natural influence and due to what Swart says is human activity.
Neil Swart, Research Scientist, Environment and Climate Change Canada
They found that while the ozone depletion is indeed diminishing and thus its effect on warming, that of greenhouse gas continues to increase and outpaces any benefits from a reduced ozone hole.
The scientists note that the southern ocean absorbs a major proportion of CO2 as currents sink to the deep ocean bottom.
Those warmer currents however, rise back to the surface thousands of kilometres away and because they are warmer, begin to affect the climate and marine life far from Antarctica.
This warming while contributing to ocean rise is also a cause for concern in the melting and breaking off of giant Antarctic ice sheets, which as they melt also add to both ocean rise and freshening of the ocean.
Swart says the findings add to the knowledge of the relationship of greenhouse effects, ocean currents and will help create even more accurate climate modelling.