Thursday, January 22, 2009

Antarctic warming over larger area than previously believed

Today Nature published correspondence reporting a study by Steig and colleagues showing that much of the Antarctic ice-sheet has been warming since 1957.  Previous studies had only documented warming in a small area of Antarctica.  Obviously,  if a greater area of Antarctica is warming, that increases the feedback effects caused by loss of reflection from the ice and that makes it more likely that Antarctic ice will contribute to a substantial change in sea level. Antarctic warming 1957-2006

FIGURE 2. Reconstructed annual mean Antarctic temperature anomalies, January 1957 to December 2006.

a, East Antarctica; b, West Antarctica. Solid black lines show results from reconstruction using infrared satellite data, averaged over all grid points for each region. Dashed lines show the average of reconstructed AWS data in each region. Straight red lines show average trends of the TIR reconstruction. Verification results for the continental mean of the TIR reconstruction are RE = 0.34, CE = 0.31 and r = 0.73. Grey shading, 95% confidence limits.

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