Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A worrying data point . . .

. . . in the climate change debate.

West African climate is monsoonal. The rainy season here in Ghana runs from about March to November (with some fluctuation). In the middle of the rainy season is a short dry spell which is caused by the upwelling of cold waters in July and August. This upwelling is a critical time for fish spawning as it leads to algal blooms. When the cold water rises to the surface, warm humid air offshore condenses and the rain falls on the sea.

Since my arrival I have noticed how cool it is here, especially by the coast. From the local fishermen, I have heard that the sea is unusually cold for this time of year, and the fishing is unusually good. It would seem that the upwelling which normally ends in August or at latest the first week in September has persisted now into the middle of October.

The upwelling means more algal blooms, which ought to be visible on NOAA imagery. I have always thought that the upwelling here was driven by south Atlantic winter storms--does anyone know if the Antarctic winter was unusual in this regard?

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