Penguins, science and history combine in climate study

ll15-184-kerry-jayne-wilson-leading-light-awards-night-2015Trust Chair, Kerry-Jayne Wilson, is one of many contributing authors to an important scientific paper using tree-rings and both past and recent weather records to analyse climate variation in the New Zealand sub-Antarctic region since the 1870’s.

Climate has become more variable and sea-surface temperatures have increased since the mid 20th century.  Kerry-Jayne’s small contribution to this highly technical paper is a summary of declines in elephant seal, penguin, albatross and shearwater populations during this period of climate variability and sea water warming.

The paper can be found at http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/cp-2016-114/

This paper is an outcome from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013/14 on which Kerry-Jayne was the ornithologist.  Weather and oceanographic records for Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition a century ago (1912/14) were crucial in making this research possible.

Short summary of paper:

“The Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in global climate but suffers from a dearth of observational data. As the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013–2014 we have developed the first annually-resolved temperature record using trees from subantarctic southwest Pacific (52˚–54˚S) to extend the climate record back to 1870. With modeling we show today’s high climate variability became established in the ~1940s and likely driven by a Rossby wave response originating from the tropical Pacific.”