Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

W. Antarctic warming among world's fastest
by Staff Writers
Columbus, Ohio (UPI) Dec 24, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The western portion of Antarctica is warming twice as fast as previously thought and triple the world's average temperature rise, U.S. scientists say.

The temperature in the center of western Antarctica, about 700 miles from the South Pole, has risen 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958, making that area one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth, the researchers wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.

A 2009 measurement considered authoritative had indicated that part of the continent, which resembles a giant peninsula stretching roughly from the South Pole toward the southern tip of South America, had warmed just 2.2 degrees since 1957.

Eric J. Steig, a University of Washington researcher who led the 2009 work, told The New York Times the new research supersedes his efforts.

"I think their results are better than ours, and should be adopted as the best estimate," he said.

Surface temperatures at the middle of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which covers the land, remain well below freezing most of the year, but increasingly rise above freezing during the December-through-February summer months, said the researchers from Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

"Our record suggests that continued summer warming in West Antarctica could upset the surface mass balance of the ice sheet, so that the region could make an even bigger contribution to sea level rise than it already does," Ohio State geography Professor David Bromwich said.

Some scientists fear the ice sheet could collapse like the Larsen B Ice Shelf did in February 2002.

"We've already seen enhanced surface melting contribute to the breakup of the Antarctic's Larsen B Ice Shelf, where glaciers at the edge discharged massive sections of ice into the ocean that contributed to sea level rise," study co-author and NCAR scientist Andrew Monaghan said.

"The stakes would be much higher if a similar event occurred to an ice shelf restraining one of the enormous WAIS glaciers," he said.

The ice-sheet breakup could take centuries, but could raise global sea levels 10 feet or more, the researchers said.

The base of the ice sheet sits below sea level in a configuration that makes it especially vulnerable, they said.

Their research was funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation


Related Links
Beyond the Ice Age

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Antarctic ice cores a window to the past
Wellington, New Zealand (UPI) Dec 21, 2012
Scientist say they've managed to obtain a bedrock sample from Antarctica that could yield information on the climate of the frozen continent 30,000 years ago. A New Zealand-led international science expedition drilled 2,500 feet through the ice on Roosevelt Island in the Ross Sea brought 16 inches of bedrock sediment from the base of the ice sheet, China's Xinhua news agency reported Fr ... read more

'No Christmas' for Philippine typhoon victims

Christmas misery in Haiti camp, three years after quake

360,000 Haitians still displaced after 2010 quake: IOM

'Apocalypse Noah': Dutch Christian readies escape Ark

Berkeley Lab Scientists Developing Quick Way to ID People Exposed to Ionizing Radiation

All Systems Go for Highest Altitude Supercomputer

Space Fence program moving forward

Aldrich Materials Science discovers liquid-free preparation of metal organic frameworks

Spanish consumers prefer national fish

Study reveals that animals contribute to seagrass dispersal

Slab of Barrier Reef sea floor breaking off: scientists

Study: Hawaiian island slowly dissolving

W. Antarctic warming among world's fastest

Antarctic ice sheet warming faster than thought: study

NASA's Operation IceBridge Data Brings New Twist to Sea Ice Forecasting

Chief's hunger strike fuels Canada aboriginal drive

A new, super-nutritious puffed rice for breakfast cereals and snacks

Can Observations of a Hardy Weed Help Feed the World?

The Green Revolution is wilting

Hungary bans foreign farmland ownership

Cyclone risk in Indonesia said increasing

Chile volcano alert raised

Travel misery as floods hit Britain

Philippines typhoon death toll 'likely to hit 1,500'

Chad lifts expulsion order against critical Italian bishop

Mali Islamists destroying more Timbuktu mausoleums

Peacekeepers warn of potential catastrophe in Darfur

Outside View: Tunisia's path ahead

Scientists construct first map of how the brain organizes everything we see

Do palm trees hold the key to immortality?

Study: Human hands evolved as weapons

US shooting revives debate over videogame violence

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement