Prof. Matthew H. England

Speaker Bio

Matthew England is a Scientia Professor of Climate Dynamics at the University of New South Wales and a former Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow.  He was a founding Director of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) and is currently the Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. In 2014 England was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and in 2016 a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.  England's expertise covers the dynamics of the oceans and their role in climate variability and climate change on time-scales of seasons to millennia.


Drivers of recent oceanic trends around Antarctica from the surface to the abyss


Despite unequivocal global warming, Southern Ocean surface waters have largely cooled over the past ~40 years and Antarctic sea ice has expanded, in stark contrast to almost all historical CMIP5 model simulations.  The Southern Ocean surface cooling is nearly circumpolar, except notably in the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Sea, where rapid warming and sea-ice retreat has been observed.  In contrast to the overall surface cooling around Antarctica, subsurface ocean warming has been observed, both over the Antarctic shelf and in the abyssal ocean layers ventilated by Antarctic Bottom Water.  The shelf water warming threatens to drive catastrophic retreat of Antarctica’s marine-terminating ice sheets, resulting in accelerated global sea-level rise.  The bottom water warming likely indicates a slowdown of the overturning of dense water around Antarctica, with implications for the global cycling of heat and nutrients by the oceans. This talk will present an overview of the processes that have led to these oceanic temperature trends around Antarctica, and give an outlook of expected changes over the coming decades.

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