Antarctica is melting!

Scientists studying climate change have long believed that while most of the rest of the globe has been getting steadily warmer, a large part of Antarctica – the east Antarctic ice sheet – has actually been getting colder.

But new research from the University of Washington (UW) shows that for the last 50 years, much of Antarctica has been warming at a rate comparable to the rest of the world. The data was taken from satellite readings that were able to estimate temperatures from inaccessible areas in the interior.

The findings, published in Nature magazine, show that warming in west Antarctica exceeded a 10th of a degree Celsius per decade for the last 50 years which more than offset the cooling in east Antarctica.

Or, umm, maybe not. That looks a little garbled really, but what I get from that is that East Antarctica is indeed still getting colder.

8 comments on “Antarctica is melting!

  1. … and a conspicuous lack of mention of the recently-discovered (by the British Antarctic Survey) chain of volcanos under Western Antarctica)…

    Rule #1 – If Michael Mann is involved, *always* check the methodology.

  2. In addition to which, am I not right in saying that satellite data *also* contradicts perceived wisdom on what the warming rate of the “rest of the world” actually is?

  3. You can read the opinion of one of the report’s authors here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/state-of-antarctica-red-or-blue/

    As he puts it, “We have already seen misleading interpretations of our results in the popular press and the blogosphere, and so we thought we would nip such speculation in the bud.”

    What I don’t understand is that when people have used a cooling Antarctica as evidence of a failure in the AGW theory, the response has been that actually more recent models show Antarctica lagging behind the rest of the World because of its position and isolation.

    Now we discover that we discover in fact Antarctica has been warming at a similar rate to the rest of the World, what does that say about the climate models?

  4. ‘But new research from the University of Washington (UW) shows that for the last 50 years, much of Antarctica has been warming at a rate comparable to the rest of the world. The data was taken from satellite readings…’

    So the satellite readings were able to show that temperature readings were from the last 50 years? Try the last 10 years or so. (whence they became more accurate)

    Or perhaps someone somewhere is conflating the evidence to suit their own agenda?

    Please give me ten minutes on Question Time to refute these retards.

    STB.

    p.s. @ Mr Portato, you, I and Tim know what it says but Tim still enjoys a wind-up.

  5. Note the use of the term “estimate” and then note the change: 0.1 of a degree per decade.

    According to Wikipedia the tempearture range in Antarctica is from about 5 degrees (summer and coastal) to -90 (winter interior). So we are talking about spotting a minute change, over decades, on a continent where temperatures vary seasonally by almost 100 degrees.

    Time for some perspective methinks.

  6. More to the point, this is a marriage of a small set of satellite observations, with a tiny set of ground readings, and a lot of guess work. They are trying to extrapolate the temperature over the entire continent based on a tiny amount of data.

    Given the involvement of Mann, I think it is likely that this is not merely crap, it is verging on fraud.

  7. Given the claimed accuracy of 0.1ºC it’s more than a little suspect as evrn NASA only states an uncertainty of 2-3ºC in the satellite surface measurements.

    DaveE.

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