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Natural climate change and variability

Antarctic Oscillation or Southern Annular Mode

sam As with the NAO, there has been an increasing number of years with a positive phase of the SAM over the past 30 years. Scientists are researching the SAM to figure out why this is occurring and its possible links to human-caused climate change.

The image to the right shows how temperatures (in degrees Celsius) respond in the Antarctic to a positive shift in the Southern Annular Mode, or Antarctic Oscillation, of approximately the same size as has taken place over the past three decades. The temperatures were based on two decades of satellite data. Credit: From Schneider, Steig and Comiso, Journal of Climate, 2004.

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