I recently came across the top map while researching “Polar Amplification” (of Global Warming). That’s odd, I thought, aren’t there a few volcanoes there? I then came upon an article in The Guardian from two years ago announcing the discovery of 91 volcanoes in the very same region as depicted in the bottom map.
Surely the volcanoes explain the anomalously high temperatures?
But no, that is far too simplistic. One of the researchers responsible for the discovery was quoted as follows:
The discovery is particularly important because the activity of these volcanoes could have crucial implications for the rest of the planet. If one erupts, it could further destabilise some of the region’s ice sheets, which have already been affected by global warming. Meltwater outflows into the Antarctic ocean could trigger sea level rises. “We just don’t know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past,” Bingham said.
Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.
And this could happen in west Antarctica, where significant warming in the region caused by climate change has begun to affect its ice sheets. If they are reduced significantly, this could release pressure on the volcanoes that lie below and lead to eruptions that could further destabilise the ice sheets and enhance sea level rises that are already affecting our oceans.
Don’t worry, mate. Your discovery won’t affect your funding.