An international group of climatologists has identified a factor contributing to the fact that the atmosphere over Antarctica heats up an order of magnitude slower than over the Arctic.
Researchers came to the conclusion that the reason for the slow heating of air over the southern polar continent lies in the fact that it is too high – the average height above sea level is 2,5 thousand meters.
The specialists carried out computer simulation and found out that with a decrease in the average height of the continent, climate reactions would also intensify the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases over the continent, which would lead to a rapid increase in temperature. To this development of events, as scientists have reported, lead the processes of atmospheric heat transfer from the equator to the South Pole.
Similar mechanisms, according to scientists, can be called the culprits of what is happening in the Arctic, the surface level of which is much lower relative to the sea, in contrast to Antarctica. In this regard, the air over the Northern Hemisphere is heated much faster (up to two times) than over the South.
Previously, factors that are responsible for the various rates of warming in Antarctica and the Arctic were also known – here, first of all, the decrease in the fraction of reflected light due to melting of ice. In the opinion of scientists, this also plays a role in the processes of global warming. And since the level of the surface of Antarctica with respect to the sea is getting lower all the time, climatologists believe that the temperature of the air above the continent will grow faster than it is today.