A new paper has been published in GRL showing that the Antarctic is accumulating snow. The paper by Thomas, E. R., G. J. Marshall, and J. R. McConnell is entitled: ‘A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850.’
This shouldn’t surprsie the IPCC who say “the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall.” Accumulation was measured using ice cores and the largest increase is in the Gomez area. Figure 1 (below) from the paper shows data for the Dyer Plateau, James Ross Island, and the ITASE01_05 core, which also shows an increase (since the 1970s).
Figure 1. Annual accumulation at Gomez (dashed blue) and running decadal mean accumulation at Gomez (solid blue), Dyer Plateau (red), James Ross Island (black) and ITASE01_05 (green) in meters of water equivalent per year (mweq y-1) between 1850 and 2006 (from Thomas et al., 2008)
The Abstract states:
We present results from a new medium depth (136 metres) ice core drilled in a high accumulation site (73.59°S, 70.36°W) on the south-western Antarctic Peninsula during 2007. The Gomez record reveals a doubling of accumulation since the 1850s, from a decadal average of 0.49 mweq y−1 in 1855–1864 to 1.10 mweq y−1 in 1997–2006, with acceleration in recent decades. Comparison with published accumulation records indicates that this rapid increase is the largest observed across the region. Evaluation of the relationships between Gomez accumulation and the primary modes of atmospheric circulation variability reveals a strong, temporally stable and positive relationship with the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). Furthermore, the SAM is demonstrated to be a primary factor in governing decadal variability of accumulation at the core site (r = 0.66). The association between Gomez accumulation and ENSO is complex: while sometimes statistically significant, the relationship is not temporally stable. Thus, at decadal scales we can utilise the Gomez accumulation as a suitable proxy for SAM variability but not for ENSO.
Received 31 October 2007; accepted 6 December 2007; published 12 January 2008.
Keywords: snow accumulation; Southern Annular Mode; Antarctica.