New Antarctica Study: You'll Still Freeze Your Butt Off, But It's Warming

antarctica photo

Antarctica Warming is Continent-Wide
A new study published in Nature contradicts a story that made the rounds a few years ago and said that the the icy slabs on Antarctica have cooled slightly and possibly thickened "partly in response to the chilling seasonal effects of the ozone hole over the South Pole."

Not so, the new study says. Read on for more.

antarctica continent photo

Via Discovery News:

calculates that West Antarctica has been warming by 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit per decade over the past 50 years.

This is even more than the Peninsula, where the average rise is estimated as 0.2 F per decade.

There has indeed been some cooling in East Antarctica, but this was mainly in the autumn, and occurred as a result of the ozone hole. There was also a period of strong cooling between 1970 and 2000.

But, overall and when calculated over 50 years, East Antarctica has warmed too -- by an average of 0.18 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, a figure that the authors describe as "significant."

The paper does not venture any estimate about ice loss or predict the ice sheets' stability, but says only global warming can logically explain the temperature trend.

"This shouldn't cause anyone to worry more than they did before. But what it does do is kill off the rather silly and careless statements out there from some people to the effect that Antarctica's cooling," said Eric Steig, a professor of Earth and space sciences at the University of Washington.

Via Discovery News

Today is Antarctica Day, it seems; you can also see two videos about the forgotten continent, Wilkins Ice Shelf Hangs by a Thread in Antarctic (Video) and Glacier Melt Warning Signs from the Antarctic (Video).

Photos: 1st: Wikipedia, GPL License, 2nd: Dave Pape, Public Domain
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