It’s Official—Antarctica Is Warming Too

By David L. Brown

As climate change deniers continue to publicize bizarre and unproven statements suggesting that the world is cooling and that global warming is a “hoax,” real scientists continue to discover evidence to the contrary. Most recently, in the journal Nature it has been reported that temperatures have been steadily rising all across Antarctica, as illustrated in this graphic:

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As reported on the BBCNews.com site today, the latest data confirms that the continent has been warming in the same manner as the rest of the globe. Data from satellites and ground stations reveals average warming over the past 50 years amounting to 0.6 degrees Celsius. According to the BBC report, the researchers said that “the trend is difficult to explain without the effect of rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.”

Here are details from the BBC report, which you can read here:

In the new analysis, a team of US scientists combined data from land stations with satellite readings

“We have at least 25 years of data from satellites, and satellites have the huge advantage that they can see the whole continent,” said Eric Steig from the University of Washington in Seattle.

“But the [land] stations have the advantage that they go back much further in time.

“So we combined the two; and what we found, in a nutshell, is that there is warming across the whole continent, it’s stronger in winter and spring but it is there in all seasons.”

They conclude that the eastern region of the continent, which is larger and colder than the western portion, is warming at 0.1C per decade, and the west at 0.17C per decade – faster than the global average.

The BBC article also noted that the Wilkins Ice Shelf, a floating ice mass 15,000 square kilometers in area, is about to break apart.

The 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agreed that global warming was occurring over all continents “except Antarctica,” for which there was insufficient data. While the researchers admitted that the warming they observed may include effects from other factors such as natural climate variability, according to the BBC report Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York commented: “It’s hard to think of any situation where increased greenhouse gases would not lead to warming in Antarctica.”

No doubt the deniers will soon come up with some theory to discredit this report, but they are like fish trying to swim up Niagara Falls because responsible scientists continue to verify the very real facts about climate change. When will they give up?

Now they’re claiming the present cold wave in North America is proof positive that global warming doesn’t exist. They ignore several facts, including the well-known fact that it is often cold in the winter. No one has said that winter will become like summer, or even like spring, and yet each time an Arctic airmass moves down from Canada we hear that global warming is a “hoax.”

Well, consider this: If the world has, on average, warmed by 1 degree Celsius what would that mean for winter weather? Well, assuming (and this is not true but just accept it for simplicity’s sake) that all warming is equally spread out, that means that a cold wave today should be 1 degree C. warmer than a similar event in the past. In other words, if it got really frosty back in 1950 and hit minus 40 degrees C. (that’s also minus 40 degrees F. by the way), this year a similar cold wave would only drop the thermometer to minus 39 degrees C. Hmm, not exactly balmy is it?

We should also take into account that there were numerous volcanic eruptions during the past year, all around the world. None equaled the big one of Mount Pinatubo that cooled the Earth for several years by injecting particulates into the upper atmosphere, but taken as a whole they are definitely having an effect. I notice the kind of orange glow in the morning and evening twilight that was so familiar in the years immediately after Pinatubo, clear signs that the air is not clear.

The best thing to do with climate change deniers is to ignore them, for like spoiled children it is attention that they seek. Nevertheless, I shall continue to write about these subjects so stay tuned.

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