Antarctica warms; scientists say we’re to blame

October 31, 2008

New research shows that both Antarctica and the Arctic are getting less icy – and the best explanation is mankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases.

But will that convert anyone who doubts that global warming is caused by human activities, led by burning fossil fuels?

The scientists, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, say that a study of temperature records from Antarctica (there aren’t many of them) shows a slight rising trend over recent decades that can be best explained by a build-up of greenhouse gases led by carbon dioxide.

Antarctica had until now been the only continent where a human fingerprint of warming had not been detected by scientists — that meant some sceptics said it might not be global at all.

Ice around the frozen continent has tended to expand in recent years — some climate experts have theories to explain that that could be a side-effect of warming linked to shifting ocean currents or changes in snow and rainfall.

But more ice obviously doesn’t sound a convincing argument for global warming when a runaway melt of the summer sea ice in the Arctic — to a record low in September 2007 – is often held up as Exhibit A in the evidence for climate change.

The U.N. Climate Panel said last year that it was at least 90 percent certain that most of the global warming in the past half century was caused by human activities. Ten percent is room for doubt, but it seems to be shrinking.

19 comments

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[...] Antarctica warms; scientists say we re to blame – Reuters BlogsTags: Environment , Antarctica , arctic , arctic regions , carbon dioxide , clean energy technology , conservation , emissions trading scheme , environment , global warming , greenhouse gases , intergovernmental panel on climate change , pollution [...]

They just want people to believe it’s “all” mans fault so they can tax and regulate us more. I sure don’t believe this is the first time our planet has gotten warmer and probably will not be the last. We are not the only planet warming right now either. If people really cared about their “role” in the melting ice caps they would probably care about the “role” they play in the air quality as well and sort that out first. This argument is about global carbon taxes and regulation, not about the ice caps. Governments are rushing to stake their claims under this ice so they can pull out the oil once it’s melted which leads me to believe that they really do not anticipate curbing “greenhouse gases” anytime soon no matter what we believe.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

[...] Warms; Scientists Say We’re To Blame clipped by: thisnamecantbetaken Clip Source: blogs.reuters.com Antarctica warms; scientists say we’re to blame Antarctica had until now been the only [...]

Jason, you are correct. There have been many global warming events in geologic time. All developed slowly over tens of thousands of years. All lead to mass extinctions. Rising CO2 and methane are characteristics of all these events. This fact alone should cause all humanity to take pause and consider if continuing to burn fossil fuels is a wise idea. It appears that warming is much more rapid than in previous events. The problem is that humans don’t live for millions of years to be able to make accurate observations. Little known facts; Lake Chad has dried up, Lake Lanier is almost gone, Lake Meade might have 10 years before it faces the same fate as Lake Lanier. The Great lakes are dropping every year as well Lake Victoria. Glacial ice is in retreat around the globe at an alarming pace. The loss of fresh water(which sustains all life on land) and rising seas are part and parcel with global warming. I think the time for cynicism has past and the time for action is overdue.

We need more than 90% proof if we are to combat global warming with the tools we have now. We need 99% proof. Right now it’s too expensive to try anything except a weak carbon tax. If future generations continue to grow, perhaps they can afford it. Until then, it’s best to try and solve other human ills. Read Bjorn Lomborg for more details.

Posted by Ray Lopez | Report as abusive

It’s comical that we’re still concerned about taxes and some “grand scheme” when the facts are real, taiga habitats are disappearing, sea levels are on the rise, tree species are disappearing because of global warming, common birds are at risk, at the Universities news broke out that levels are about 3x higher than expected N-containing pollutants, ozone concentration is growing once more, “clean coal” is our solution? Ignorance is far more costly than a mild tax increase, and hoping on the best is too naive, stupid if you will; since we no longer believe in religion or higher power, and claim people are rational thinkers, what are we waiting for? Or will we do the same as we have with the credit and home crisis, wait till the bubble blows because of ignorance and lack of regulation? The difference being that you can decrease interest rates or pump billions of dollars to invoke change the environment doesn’t follow laissez-faire, for many who want to argue visit your local library and do some homework.

–UC Student ready to clean up the left behind mess.

Posted by Sebas | Report as abusive

[...] was caused by human activities. Ten percent is room for doubt, but it seems to be shrinking. source Published [...]

Where is the data on both Antarctica and the Arctic ice cap retaining MORE ICE every year? This garbage about manmade greenhouse gases is pure propaganda, a green-economy-driven hoax. The actual climate data shows a marked COOLING of the Earth.

Posted by Charles Miller | Report as abusive

We are now at a junction in our history which will prove to be either the pinnacle of mankind or its downfall. The argument continues as to whether or not man is responsible for climate change, however nobody is disputing the fact that the climate really is changing. As the most intelligent life on this planet, we need to come up with a solution to the problem rather than pointing fingers and playing the blame-game. The most brilliant minds of our time have come up with contingencies on what to do in the event of world wide catastrophies such as pandemics, nuclear war and even meteor strikes, but what if the real world killer is something slower, something preventable, something forseeable? Developing countries dont want to curb emissions or regulate population because they believe they deserve a better standard of living. Developed countries dont want to conserve or invest in conservation because they have a better standard of living. Well I think its about time everyone take a look at this planet and realize that it will be the generations to come that will pay for our mistakes if we dont do something about this problem now. It does not matter if man is responsible for climate change or not, if we dont act it will be our children and grandchildren that will pay the price.

Posted by Aaron O'Donnell | Report as abusive

If you want proof, go to Tasmania or New Zealand. When I was a kid growing up in Australia I never wore sun screen and never got burnt, because the ozone protected me. Try doing that now. I worked as a dive instructor in Vietnam for 4 months and was in the sun all day every day without getting burnt. I went back to Australia and it took me 30 minutes on a mild day.

The hole in the ozone layer IS manmade and IS changing the climate. How can you be less than 99% sure that climate change is caused by man when OVER 99% of independent research reports show that it is?

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

If you look at history the world goes through many changes in temperature. The world used to be warmer. Where the Vikings used to farm is still under ice. We have had at least one large iceage and many smaller ice ages, but we have also had many warm times in our planets history.

The sun has more to do with our temperature then anything else. Another thing that people dont think about is that the warmer the Earth gets the more water evaporates producing more clouds. That increase in clouds reflects more light back into space cooling the Earth. Not to mention that a single large valcanic eruption could cool the Earth (and has done before) many degrees. One of the “minny ice ages” is blamed on this.

Posted by justin | Report as abusive

Sorry to disappoint the “Ozone Hole” hangers-on, but that hole has been steadily closing for the past 20 years. The Earth itself, through a completely natural activity that we call lightning, has has been producing new Ozone and healing the Hole for so many years that it’s not even an issue anymore.

Posted by Charles Miller | Report as abusive

It has long been said in science “Beware the sound of one hand clapping.” That is for every proposed theory there should be one proposed agianst it (the two hands). Right now all of the money is going to global warming research. Like the saying “When the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.”

If everyone is looking for global warming then they will find everything suports it. What we need is for money to be spent to see if global warming caused by man is not the case. Then after seeing both sides we can deside which better fits the evidence. Thomas Jefferson said, “But for God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides if we choose.”

We need to be shown all of the evidence not just what thoughs with an agenda want us to see.
Science is based on questioning and challenging what was precived to be true.

Posted by justin | Report as abusive

I do agree that the conclusion that we need to clean up our act by reducing our polution and better managing our resorces is correct.
We should and must be told the entire story, not just one part of it. Then we can make a much more informed plan on how to protect our enviroment.

Posted by justin | Report as abusive

Religous groups and secular ones need to work together to take care of the enviroment. The constent atack on religon is counterproductive, most who attack it don’t realize how much they depend on its ideas. Also, they remove a nessisary ally in the struggle to help the earth’s enviroment.

I have a few questions for Sebas or whoever wants to answer them. If religion is dead and then be extinction its commission to care for it (Genesis 1:16-18, 2:15, Proverbs 12:10) is also dead. I also presume we are basing our system on Evolution in religions’ absence then.

Q1) With what reason are we concerned about the disappearance of species?

Q2) Darwin wrote “Only the fit will survive.” Also in the Decent of Man Darwin criticized socity’s care of the weak and disabled saying that it was doing great harm to humankind. Would trying to save the species be hindering evolution, harming nature, and be going against science?

Q3) Are you prepared to sit back and let evolution run its course and let the unfit finish dying out like Darwin’s theory says is best? Or do you want to fallow the religous commission to help and take care of the environment? (I will admit that not everyone fallows what thier claimed belief systems say or thought about the meaning of what is said by it.)

This shows that people need to see all sides from the other sides veiwpoint then deside what is the best and admit what they truely think. There is alot they have in commen. Challange is good but supression of ideas and evidence, bigotry, and a lack of self analisis or chosing what you belive not what others tell you to is best for the world. Live yourself in peace and let others live around you in peace.

I just had to vent on this because i get anoyed when people say that a belief system is dead (or false) but then their own ideas presupose that it is true. Why can’t people think logicaly and follow what thier belief system says. Then alot of problems would end as Gandhi said “Christianity ia a great idea too bad no one fallows it.”

Posted by justin | Report as abusive

Whether global warming is our fault or not, it’s happening. And if we have the ability to do something about it, then we should. To do nothing when we have opportunity to act is foolishness. And foolishness leads to the grave.

i believe the court of opinion on climate change is adjourned. the jury has returned with a verdict of guilty as charged. we have been found guilty of destroying our awesome planet, its’ natural beauty and life forms we have raped and murdered. and most likely we will be aborted out of its life giving womb…unless we as humanity become one and unite as lovers of life and the earth’s precious resources are treated with respect and cherished above all capitalist greed; then we will be saved!!! if however, we do not or will not act decisively now we will be torn from this planet and permanetly removed for all ages.

Posted by bryan mcalister | Report as abusive

This article is necessary because there were scientific articles written this year that discussed the ice sheet increasing is size. If you are going to have a new economic program to create jobs that “green” products you cannot very well have the North Pole the only thing that melts. The Antartic has to melt too so we as consumers buy these necessary products and save the economy, and defeat global warming at the same time.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0110/p14s0 1-sten.html
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index. php/2008/01/21/antarctica-snowfall-incre ase/

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

As Usual, when a scientifically based article presents its fact based interpretations of observations you get a large number of obviously undereducated know-it-alls spouting off about how its a scam or a hidden agenda they are trying to promote by making these claims.

Any educated mind is capable of wrapping themselves around these facts of global climate change. Even without the finger pointing anyone can see there is a problem and if there is anything we can do to change the course of events we owe it to every living thing on this world to do whatever we can. denial and finger pointing are not the answer. Religion, as one poster digresses, is not the answer. Stop running away from the facts, and start asking, what can WE do?

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

Looks like the people who dont agree that global warming is caused by humans are totally ignorant of facts.. do you all want to say that its ok to go on polluting everything on the earth and think that the earth is getting warmed up on its OWN.. get a life please, its all right for you people to talk when you are not the ones whos house is submerged in water.. there are whole islands out there that are partially submerged in water.. and the people who live there dont even know what global warming is.. why should they pay the price of the arrogance of the few here who just want to close their eyes to all problems??

Posted by nitya | Report as abusive

Antarctica warms! Who are to blame? I reckon we are!

How strange,in summer 600 years ago the usual temperature was about 90 degrees, and there were not the same amount of people in Great Britain as today, well,well, looks like we are paying for a lot of scientists with guesswork degrees who are holding down their jobs by raising fear in the world, governments too , are creating quango’s to foster this fear, is it not time to call a halt to all this waste of money, get rid of these useless morons and save millions of GBP and US $ going down the drain, Cancer could do with it.