The Heat Is Online

Antarctica Shows Signs of Greenhouse Warming

Science Proves Warming of Antarctica

Environmental News Network, Nov. 13, 2008  

The Antarctic holds the world's largest amount of fresh water in its icy grip, and it is most certainly warming as a result of greenhouse gases, say new scientific studies.

"We're able for the first time to directly attribute warming in both the
Arctic and the Antarctic to human influences," said Nathan Gillett of the University of East Anglia, in Britain, who led the study.

Evidence of global warming, caused by the release of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air, has been found on almost every continent on Earth. The exception was the Antarctic, which holds 90 percent of the world's ice and 70 percent of the world's fresh water.

Antarctica, about 1.4 times as large as the United States, has just 20 weather stations . from which to gather data, and for this and other reasons, less has been known about the icy continent.

Scientists can see that the warmer parts of Antarctica, including the Western Antarctic and Antarctic Peninsula, which juts north toward South America and is home to millions of seals and penguins and other birds, are seeing temperature increases.

But the frigid East Antarctic, with ice 2,226 metres thick, has seen no significant change in air temperature during the past 50 years -- in fact it has shown evidence of cooling -- and this has made overall conclusions about the greenhouse gas effect inconclusive.

The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that Antarctica was the only continent where human-caused temperature changes had not been detected, possibly due to insufficient data and observation.