Photo Credit: NC State
From the New York Times:
West Antarctica has warmed much more than scientists had thought over the last half century, new research suggests, an ominous finding given that the huge ice sheet there may be vulnerable to long-term collapse, with potentially drastic effects on sea levels.
A paper released Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience reports that the temperature at a research station in the middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958. That is roughly twice as much as scientists previously thought and three times the overall rate of global warming, making central West Antarctica one of the fastest-warming regions on earth.
“The surprises keep coming,” said Andrew J. Monaghan, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who took part in the study. “When you see this type of warming, I think it’s alarming.”
To try to get to the bottom of the question, David H. Bromwich of Ohio State University pulled together a team that focused on a single temperature record. At a lonely outpost called Byrd Station, in central West Antarctica, people and automated equipment have been keeping track of temperature and other weather variables since the late 1950s.
It is by far the longest weather record in that region, but it had intermittent gaps and other problems that had made many researchers wary of it. The Bromwich group decided to try to salvage the Byrd record.
They retrieved one of the sensors and recalibrated at the University of Wisconsin. They discovered a software error that had introduced mistakes into the record and then used computerized analyses of the atmosphere to fill the gaps.
Much of the warming discovered in the new paper happened in the 1980s, around the same time the planet was beginning to warm briskly.
They can’t find any recent warming, so they took a broken sensor with “intermittent gaps and other problems”, “recalibrated” it, “used computerized analyses of the atmosphere to fill the gaps” and “discovered” warming that “happened in the 1980s”. If you believe that this is science, then I strongly suggest you prep your telescope, lest you miss out on a spectacular sleigh sighting…