Antarctica warming, study says

January 23rd, 2009 - 5:56 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 23 (DPA) Antarctica is warming, despite the recent scientific consensus that the southernmost continent was not being impacted by global warming, a study published in the journal Nature said Thursday.Scientists had observed warming in the Antarctic Peninsula that extends north from the icy continent, but the rest of the continent was believed to be stable or even cooling as the rest of the Earth’s continents saw temperatures increase.

But researchers using a complex model combining weather station and satellite data concluded that surface temperatures rose an average of 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade during the last half century, or about 0.5 degrees total.

The western portions of Antarctica had the highest rate of warming, while eastern areas cooled in the last 30 years. Overall, the study found temperatures were rising on average across the continent.

“Everyone knows it has been warming on the Antarctic Peninsula, where there are lots of weather stations collecting data,” climate researcher Eric Steig said in a NASA statement. “Our analysis told us that it is also warming in West Antarctica.”

The study was based on simulations of temperatures to deduce long-term trends from sparsely located weather stations and NASA satellite data since 1981 that filled in the blanks in hard data with projections about the likely trends.

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