In the past 30 years, due to the warmer temperatures of the tropical oceans, the South Pole has heated three times faster than the rest of the planet .
To reach this conclusion , researchers in New Zealand, Britain and the United States analyzed 60 years of weather station data and used computer-generated models to show what was causing the accelerated warming.
The data showed that the South Pole, the most remote place on Earth, was now warming up at a rate of about 0.6 ºC per decade, compared to around 0.2 ºC for the rest of the planet.
The authors of the research claim that the natural warming trend was likely driven by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and may be masking the warming effect of carbon pollution at the South Pole .
As Kyle Clem , a researcher at Victoria University of Wellington and lead author of the study, explains :
While temperatures were known to be warming in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula during the 20th century, the South Pole was cooling. It was suspected that this part of Antarctica … could be immune / isolated from warming. We discovered that this is no longer the case.
The study authors attributed the change to a phenomenon known as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). The IPO cycle lasts approximately 15-30 years, alternating between a ‘positive’ state, in which the tropical Pacific is warmer and the northern Pacific colder than average, and a ‘negative’ state where the temperature anomaly is reversed. The OPI switched to a negative cycle at the beginning of the century, driving more convection and more extreme pressures at high latitudes, which led to a strong flow of warmer air over the South Pole.