The Antarctic Polar Front (APF) is an oceanic zone where warm and cold waters with different chemical, physical and biological characteristics converge without mixing, forming a natural barrier that acts between 80 and 100 meters from the surface of the Southern Ocean. This process is similar to what happens in the atmosphere. For example, on our planet, there are air masses with different characteristics that do not mix due to the different pressure, temperature, and humidity.
At the beginning of his research, Marine Biology student Francisco Olguin thought that due to the increased intensity of the westerly winds as a result of global warming, the APF would move north, but he proved the opposite with his thesis at the Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh).
Olguin’s research focused on how the Antarctic Polar Front will change in the face of global warming between the Bellingshausen Sea and the Scottish Sea, the first located to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula and the second near the Chilean continent and covering 900,000 sq km. Olguin used two of the four scenarios that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts for the future.
Antarctic Polar Front (APF) Is Moving South, A New Research Revealed
“If the APF moves to the south, it is also possible to think that along with it will move the feeding grounds of many marine species,” says Olguin, who worked on the development of programs and the use of various databases to evaluate current conditions of the FPA as well as the analysis of 17 models.
“The results of this research are very relevant because they could explain the relationship that would exist in the migration towards high latitudes of the oceanic gyres and the Antarctic Polar Front in other areas,” said Dr. Jose Garces, a researcher at the Institute of Marine and Limnological Sciences of the UACh.
The displacement of the Antarctic Polar Front towards the south “could tell us that the factors that currently explain it, in the future will be others,” as the researcher concluded.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.