Recent changes in phytoplankton communities associated with rapid regional climate change along the western Antarctic Peninsula.

Abstract

The climate of the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is undergoing a transition from a cold-dry polar-type climate to a warm-humid sub-Antarctic-type climate. Using three decades of satellite and field data, we document that ocean biological productivity, inferred from chlorophyll a concentration (Chl a), has significantly changed along the WAP shelf. Summertime surface Chl a (summer integrated Chl a approximately 63% of annually integrated Chl a) declined by 12% along the WAP over the past 30 years, with the largest decreases equatorward of 63 degrees S and with substantial increases in Chl a occurring farther south. The latitudinal variation in Chl a trends reflects shifting patterns of ice cover, cloud formation, and windiness affecting water-column mixing. Regional changes in phytoplankton coincide with observed changes in krill (Euphausia superba) and penguin populations.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1164533

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@article{MontesHugo2009RecentCI, title={Recent changes in phytoplankton communities associated with rapid regional climate change along the western Antarctic Peninsula.}, author={Martin A. Montes-Hugo and Scott C. Doney and Hugh W . Ducklow and William R. Fraser and Douglas G. Martinson and Sharon E. Stammerjohn and Oscar Schofield}, journal={Science}, year={2009}, volume={323 5920}, pages={1470-3} }