The Antarctic Peninsula is cooling in response to the shrinking ozone hole and a changing wind pattern, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.
The study, undertaken by the British Antarctic Survey, concludes that changing wind patterns pushed warm water away from Antarctica, therefore cooling the northern-most part of the continent.
“The ozone hole, sea-ice and westerly winds have been significant in influencing regional climate change in recent years,” John Turner, lead author of the study, stated in the report.
Despite this cooling trend, scientists say global warming has not necessarily ended.
“This new research definitely doesn’t imply that warming of the planet has stopped,” Nerilie Abram, professor at Australian National University, told The Guardian Thursday. “For a remote place like Antarctica, where climate measurements are especially short and those year-to-year swings in climate are very large, our records really aren’t long enough yet to see the full picture of human-caused climate change.”
The scientists claim that if carbon dioxide levels continue to increase, they fully expect the warming trend to pick back up.
“Climate model simulations predict that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase at currently projected rates, their warming effect will dominate over natural variability — and the cooling effect associated with recovering ozone levels,” Robert Mulvaney, ice core researcher for the British Antarctic Survey, told The Guardian. “There will be a warming of several degrees across the region by the end of this century”
This claim is backed up by computer models, which have proven faulty in the past. These models not only failed to predict this cooling trend, but they also failed to predict the “pause” in global temperatures. Data from the University of Alabama in Huntsville shows no significant global warming since 1994.
The study corroborates the finding that 2015 was the first year in three years that the ice extent did not set a record high level, according to NASA.
“After three record high extent years, this year marks a return toward normalcy for Antarctic sea ice,” NASA scientist Walt Meier said in a press release.
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