The April 18 special issue of Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (AAS), titled, "Antarctic Meteorology and Climate: Past, Present and Future," presents the latest findings from expanded and ongoing research efforts in Antarctic meteorology, weather prediction, climate variability and climate change.
The issue presents researches conducted during the recent Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) - an international effort by the World Meteorological Organization to improve predictions of weather, climate and sea-ice conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic.
This collection of peer-reviewed papers provides evidence of variability and change in Antarctic environmental conditions, mostly based on enhanced observations carried out during the YOPP Special Observing Period in the Southern Ocean, the most extensive period of observations ever conducted in and around Antarctica.
YOPP efforts in the Southern Hemisphere stimulated additional research in Antarctic meteorology and climate by increased data collection and enhanced computing power for modeling.
The AAS special issue suggests that future Antarctic weather forecasts and climate predictions will be more reliable based on the combined new insights into the atmosphere, land surface, ocean conditions and sea ice variability, ultimately making operations in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean safer.
"These studies make important contributions to our understanding of the weather and climate systems in the polar regions and can improve future climate projections while producing important information for policymakers," said XUE Ming, an AAS editor-in-chief, professor and director of the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.
The special issue also indicates that long-term weather and climate changes are already underway across Antarctica and the Southern Ocean with potentially far-reaching consequences, which will be the object of future research.
"Climate change research in the Antarctic is relatively neglected compared to the Arctic," said LIU Jiping, the issue's lead editor and associate professor at the University at Albany in Albany, New York. "However, it's clear that climate change is already impacting the Antarctic and studying the changes is vital, because it enables us to predict the future climate more accurately."
According to LIU, signs of climate change in the Antarctic include a strong warming over the Antarctic Peninsula, a deepening of the Amundsen Sea low, rapid warming of the upper ocean north of the circumpolar current, an increase of sea ice since the late 1970s followed by a recent rapid decrease, and accelerated ice loss from ice shelf/sheet during the same period.
Featured on the cover is China's first homemade icebreaker (Xuelong 2, left-hand vessel), which was designed to break 1.5-m-thick ice and 0.2-m-thick snow at a speed of 2-3 knots. (Image by AAS)
"This is the second special issue published by AAS highlighting scientific progress in important areas addressed by the YOPP," said Thomas JUNG, professor at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, and YOPP coordinator. "In 2018, AAS also published a special issue focusing on the impact of Arctic change on Eurasian climate and weather."
AAS is co-published by Springer and Science Press and hosted by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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