Australian Antarctic ice cores help build a map of snowfall
Ice core and observational data were used to build a map of Antarctic snowfall changes over the past 50 years. An international team used data from 16 sites across the continent. Australian ice core data from several sites in East Antarctica contributed to this study.
Large variations in snowfall across the continent and also through time are shown in the study. It is interesting, however, that the study does not show any significant trends.
Climate models generally predict an increase in Antarctic snowfall along with a warming climate, because warmer air can hold more moisture. Despite clear warming, globally, over this period, the Antarctic snowfall rate does not show any increase.
This is significant for future projections of sea-level because increased Antarctic snowfall in a warmer climate has been expected to lock up additional water in the ice-cap, taking out about 10% of the projected sea-level rise.
- Antarctic snowfall largely unchanged in half a century
- View an abstract to the paper published in Science in the Science Magazine.
- Polar climate impacts: related news video (Quicktime video 4 MB) © ABC News Hobart, 11 August 2006