West Antarctic Warming Twice As Fast as We Thought
New study finds temperatures up 4.4° since 1958
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 24, 2012 8:52 AM CST
Updated Dec 29, 2012 7:15 AM CST
A lone emperor penguin stands on the edge of an iceberg drift in the Ross Sea in the Antarctic, in this Dec. 1, 2006, file photo from Fish Eye Films.   (AP Photo/Fish Eye Films, John Weller)

(Newser) – West Antarctica is warming at roughly twice the rate scientists previously believed, and roughly three times as fast as the planet as a whole, according to a new study of data from the middle of the region. The average temperature has risen 4.4°F since 1958, the New York Times reports, which means the huge ice sheet there might be at a greater risk of long-term collapse than previously believed. That event would drastically change global sea levels.

"The surprises keep coming," says one scientist. "When you see this type of warming, I think it's alarming." A 2009 study found extensive warming in West Antarctica, but climate change skeptics have challenged its findings. In an attempt to settle things, researchers retrieved the region's longest-running automated sensor, which has been consulted only rarely because of gaps in its measurements. They discovered a software error that had distorted its records and, using computer analysis to fill the gaps, concluded that if anything, the 2009 study low-balled the problem.

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Showing 3 of 40 comments
Jan 7, 2013 1:45 PM CST
The real problem with global warming is with the people writing the stories. They gather the facts needed to promote their view, ignore any other data and make wild proclamations based on scewed and manipulated half truths. Using models to fix data is just using software developed to arrive at a predetermine theory - just good enough to make a story to sell or get an award. Journalists are just bigger liars than attorney's are and less scruples about avoiding the truth.
Dec 29, 2012 11:07 PM CST
Al Gore may have been screwed out of his Florida electoral votes but the antarctic warming is real according to his forecast.
Dec 29, 2012 10:02 PM CST
They discovered this through a software error? And used a computer model to fill in the gaps? According to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research says the mean global temp has risen 1.33f over the last century. Another: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released--chart-prove-it.html says global temps remained the same from 1980 - 1996. Now the Western Antarctic has risen 4.4f the past 50 yrs? Al Gore says that historically when C02 goes up, temps go up, it just takes 700 yrs for temps to rise. Did I leave something out? Is it any wonder that people are inclined to doubt what they are told? How long before this truth is deemed a "Software Error"?