A Warmer Antarctica?

Reader Contribution by Jessie Fetterling
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In February 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that Antarctica was the only continent that did not show signs of climate change. However, recent studies published by Nature Geoscience prove that global warming has in fact made Antarctica warmer.

After comparing 100 years of Arctic temperature data and 50 years of weather records from 17 Antarctic weather stations, scientists concluded that arctic temperatures have warmed about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and Antarctic temperatures warmed about 1.8 degrees. But Antarctica could be even warmer than that. Researchers may have underestimated the temperature change due to readings from the cold continental interior — where there have been observations of cooling in the spring and summer months as a result of the ozone hole.

According to an article in Scientific American, one quarter to one half of the Antarctic coastline has shown substantial warming. The Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula have already collapsed. If the eastern and western shelves melted completely, sea levels would increase by as much as 230 feet. Unfortunately, while the consequences of global warming are starting to be addressed, things will still get worse before they get better.

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