Nature magazine has published this week a scientific report by Eric Steig of the University of Washington, Seattle, in which further evidence of human-induced warming in Antarctica is adduced. Steig and colleagues combined historical data from weather stations with satellite measurements, and tested their results against models, to give a more complete record of the continentâ''s temperatures from 1957 to 2006. They find that Antarctica has warmed by about a tenth of a degree per decade.
Summarizing their findings, they said that although warming was â''partly offset by autumn cooling in East Antarctica, the continent-wide average near-surface temperature trend is positive. Simulations using a general circulation model reproduce the essential features of the spatial pattern and the long-term trend, and we suggest that neither can be attributed directly to increases in the strength of the westerlies. Instead, regional changes in atmospheric circulation and associated changes in sea surface temperature and sea ice are required to explain the enhanced warming in West Antarctica.â''
The report adds credence to another report earlier this year that Antarctica has been subject to human-induced warming, contrary to previous scientific opinion.