Some interesting papers from an AGU conference.
“Mid Holocene Warmth in the Antarctic Peninsula: evidence from the Vega Drift”. So, 4000 to 7000 years ago this area was warmer than now.
Jumbo piston core NBP0003-38, a 20.53 meter core from the Vega Drift (Erebus and Terror Gulf, northeastern Antarctic Peninsula), contains a high resolution record of climate extending back ~8500 years. Lithologic and foraminiferal data presented previously document mid-Holocene conditions warmer than today. These data include increased clay concentration, higher concentrations of ice-rafted debris, and higher magnetic susceptibility below ~6000 ybp, the consequence of extensive meltwater and iceberg calving. This change in lithology is accompanied by the presence of a benthic foraminferal assemblage characteristic of the western Antarctic Peninsula, as contrasted to a lower productivity assemblage observed in the upper section of core. New diatom data confirm mid-Holocene warmth, as based on analysis of the distribution of the two varieties of the species Eucampia antarctica. They are distinguished by their symmetry, with the asymmetric E. antarctica var. antarctica characteristic of subpolar waters and the symmetric E. antarctica var. recta a polar form. Increased relative abundance of the sub-polar form occurs between ~4000-7000 ybp, overlapping and then post-dating the time interval characterized by increased ice melt. In addition, the ratio of terminal to intercalary valves was analyzed. A direct consequence of chain length, a function of the amount of growth, this ratio has been used to record oscillations in winter sea ice cover. Data from JPC38 show longest chain lengths (and least winter sea ice) from ~4000-7000 ybp, in concert with the dominance of the sub-polar form of the species. These data suggest the possibility that mid-Holocene warmth at this site was associated with the southward migration of sub-polar waters and consequently less winter sea ice.
So much for all the years of the British Antarctic Survey beating up warming trends from station data there.
Another interesting paper mentions an active undersea volcano in the area. “A Benthic Invertebrate Survey of Jun Jaegyu Volcano: An active undersea volcano in Antarctic Sound, Antarctica”.
Jun Jaegyu volcano, an Antarctic submarine volcano, was dredged in May 2004 during cruise 04-04 of the RV Laurence M. Gould to determine rock, sediment composition and marine macroinvertebrate diversity. The objectives of this study are to examine the benthic assemblages and biodiversity present on a young volcano. The volcano is located on the continental shelf of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula, where recent changes in surface temperature and ice shelf stability have been observed. This volcano was originally swath-mapped during cruise 01-07 of the Research Vessel-Ice Breaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. During LMG04-04 we also studied the volcano using a SCUD video camera, and performed temperature surveys along the flanks and crest. Both the video and the dredge indicate a seafloor surface heavily colonized by benthic organisms. Indications of fairly recent lava flows are given by the absence of marine life on regions of the volcano.
We are looking for more data.