Antarctica warming? An evolution of viewpoint


Above: Mt Erebus, Antarctica

picture by Sean Brocklesby

A press release today by the University of Washington makes a claim that Antarctica is warming and has been for the last 50 years:

“The study found that warming in West Antarctica exceeded one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade for the last 50 years and more than offset the cooling in East Antarctica.”

“The researchers devised a statistical technique that uses data from satellites and from Antarctic weather stations to make a new estimate of temperature trends.”

“People were calculating with their heads instead of actually doing the math,” Steig said. “What we did is interpolate carefully instead of just using the back of an envelope. While other interpolations had been done previously, no one had really taken advantage of the satellite data, which provide crucial information about spatial patterns of temperature change.”

Satellites calculate the surface temperature by measuring the intensity of infrared light radiated by the snowpack, and they have the advantage of covering the entire continent. However, they have only been in operation for 25 years. On the other hand, a number of Antarctic weather stations have been in place since 1957, the International Geophysical Year, but virtually all of them are within a short distance of the coast and so provide no direct information about conditions in the continent’s interior.

The scientists found temperature measurements from weather stations corresponded closely with satellite data for overlapping time periods. That allowed them to use the satellite data as a guide to deduce temperatures in areas of the continent without weather stations.

Co-authors of the paper are David Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., a former student of Steig’s; Scott Rutherford of Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.; Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University; Josefino Comiso of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; and Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. The work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

Anytime Michael Mann gets involved in a paper and something is “deduced” it makes me wary of the veracity of the methodology. Why?  Mann can’t even correct simple faults like latitude-longitude errors in data used in previous papers he’s written.

But that’s not the focus of the moment. In that press release they cite NASA satellite imagery. Let’s take a look at how the imagery has changed in 5 years.

NASA’s viewpoint – 2004

Click for larger image

NASA’s Viewpoint 2007 (added 1/22)

NASA’s viewpoint – 2009


Click for larger image

Earth’s viewpoint – map of Antarctic volcanoes

Click for larger image

From the UW paper again:

“West Antarctica is a very different place than East Antarctica, and there is a physical barrier, the Transantarctic Mountains, that separates the two,” said Steig, lead author of a paper documenting the warming published in the Jan. 22 edition of Nature.

But no, it just couldn’t possibly have anything at all to do with the fact that the entire western side of the Antarctic continent and peninsula is dotted with volcanoes. Recent discovery of new volcanic activity isn’t mentioned in the paper at all.

From January 2008, the first evidence of a volcanic eruption from beneath Antarctica’s ice sheet has been discovered by members of the British Antarctic Survey.

The volcano on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet began erupting some 2,000 years ago and remains active to this day. Using airborne ice-sounding radar, scientists discovered a layer of ash produced by a ’subglacial’ volcano. It extends across an area larger than Wales. The volcano is located beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet in the Hudson Mountains at latitude 74.6°South, longitude 97°West.



In response to questions and challenges in comments, I’ve added imagery above and have a desire to further explain why this paper is problematic in my view.

The author of the paper himself (Steig) mentions the subglacial heat source in a response from “tallbloke” in comments. My issue is that they don’t even consider or investigate the possibility. Science is about testing and if possible, excluding all potential candidates that challenge your hypothesis, and given the geographic correlation between their output map and the volcanic map, it seems a reasonable theory to investigate. They didn’t.

But let’s put the volcanoes aside for a moment. Let’s look at the data error band. The UAH trend for Antarctica since 1978 is -0.77 degrees/century.

In a 2007 press release on Antarctica, NASA’s describes their measurement error at 2-3 degrees, making Steig’s conclusion of .25 degrees Celsius over 25 years statistically meaningless.

“Instead, the team checked the satellite records against ground-based weather station data to inter-calibrate them and make the 26-year satellite record. The scientists estimate the level of uncertainty in the measurements is between 2-3 degrees Celsius.”

That is from this 2007 NASA press release, third paragraph.

Also in that PR, NASA shows yet another satellite derived depiction which differs from the ones above. I’ve added it.

Saying you have a .25 deviation over 25 years (based on one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade per Steig) with a previously established measurement uncertainty of 2-3 degrees means that the “deduced” value Steig obtained is not greater than the error bands previously cited on 2007, which would render it statistically meaningless.

In an AP story Kenneth Trenberth has the quote of the day:

“This looks like a pretty good analysis, but I have to say I remain somewhat skeptical,” Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an e-mail. “It is hard to make data where none exist.”


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Alan the Brit

The report does say that these temperature trends are an”estimate”. That gives a distinct possibility that they could be wrong, by a long way! I am always bothered by new “techniques” that produce the desired results, April is coming, the new UK financial year looming, cuts in public funds are inevitable I suppose.

anna v

Any guess given on why Antarctica is such a good Christian? ( the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing).


Let me see if I have this straight…
They didn’t just use their heads, they calculated it using deduction.
And people call the skeptics “anti-science” !!!!!


By the time this is shot down they will have the headlines they wanted. Bit like “the hottest October ever”. Matty, Perth, Western Australia

Gaudenz Mischol

And all this contrasts with an above average Antarctic seaice for the last couple of years!!!

Lloyd Burt

Unfortunately the satellite data only covers the recent warming period. Many trends during a warming period (like the PDO for example) are radically different than trends during a cooling mode. In my part of the US it actually gets warmer (relative to the rest of the country) during a cooling PDO. Using warming mode data to work out cooling mode data is probably about as stupid as using arctic ice extents to predict antarctic ice extents. On the surface it sounds like it would work but we know from experience that it can often give radically different (and wrong) results.

Phillip Bratby

“statistical technique”, “estimate”, “guide to deduce”! No mention of what the uncertainty is in the one-tenth of a degree or how much the cooling was in the East Antarctic. It doesn’t sound like real science, more like an attempt to find some way of plugging another hole in the sinking of the ship SSAGW. The press release does not give any confidence that the paper has any worth.

Neil Crafter

“The study found that warming in West Antarctica exceeded one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade for the last 50 years and more than offset the cooling in East Antarctica.”
Wow, scary hot! One tenth of a degree per decade. How can they ‘measure’ to this degree of accuracy I have to wonder, especially with interpolation, albeit “careful interpolation”. So its gone from really really really cold to only really really really cold (same number of reallys there due to the uncertainty bands!).

Barry L.

per the following map , and eyeballing an average temperature change works out to
25years x 0.05deg/year = +1.25deg over 20 years
using the 2004 map above, and eyeballing an average temperature change works out to
25 years x -.1 = -2.5deg over 20 years
Thats a poorly estimated on my part, whopping difference of 4 degrees. I wonder how the difference came about?
But wait… they added a disclaimer on latest data: “The scientists estimate the level of uncertainty in the measurements is between 2-3 degrees Celsius.”
So it looks to me like they decided to change thier color scheme to suit good buisness practices, in hopes of getting some funding for more reaserch.
I’d like to see how the following graph looks now, after “correction”


Scientists involved in this field have to toe the line for the sake of their careers. An article in the web site (Vol.15, No.2, Spring 1992) notes that one scientist lost funding from the National Science Foundation (who also funded the study above) because of:
“…data analyses that were failing to show net warming over the past century. Reviewers suggested that his results were dangerous to humanity.”
*end quote*

Cassandra King

I am trying to get my head around the methodology used, they say this is not back of the envelope guestimation but end up saying that in effect their work is nothing more than calculation by guess work?
Interpolation is a grand word for it but a simpler explanation may be that they have been trying every which way to get the figures to fit a desired outcome and this ‘interpolation of data’ is just another complicated way of smashing that square peg into that obstinate round hole.
The ommision of volcanic activity in the western quarter must at least raise the spectre of selective and biased procedures.
The BBC have been flogging the story to death which also leads me to believe that something fishy is going on.


I’ll have to read their paper before giving serious comment, but, before I read it, my guess is that the inconvenient trend over the past three decades or so in Antarctica (which is the opposite of the trend observed elsewhere, perhaps due to cloudiness-albedo issues, or perhaps due to the fact that it’s the only terrestrial area on Earth without urban heat island issues) gave them cause to go out and prove that the continent was actually warming. The period with the highest and most rapidly rising CO2 concentrations was showing some cooling, so it made sense to go back and find a cold starting point. Then they could turn around and say that the long-term trend is upward. This, of course, is true, but belittles the fact that this has not been the case since the 1970’s. Next, they will tell us that the reason for the increase in sea ice in the area around the Antarctic is because of the added melting caused by warming and increased precipitation, and the resultant increase in freshwater, which is more stable and has a higher melting point. Never mind the more likely possibility that it has something to do with the slight cooling during the past three decades (though I’ll bet this is conveniently no longer apparent in their paper). Anyway, enough with my diatribe. I’ll pick it up on the weekend and actually read it before I comment further. Maybe they’ll convince me.

Neil O'Rourke

I suppose with the arctic sea ice ignoring Al Gore’s prediction that it will vanish within 5 years, they had to divert attention somewhere else. The other side of the globe seems to be far enough away…

George Smith of this parish spoke directly with Steig on this and posted on another thread, but I can’t find the post now. I hope he reposts it here. – Anthony, please badger wordpress for a better author search facility!

Climate Audit is also covering this one…
I posted the comment below earlier today, as it’s station related I thought it might interest some readers here. I posted a brief version of this on Real Climate but it appears to be one of those questions that some prefer not asked.
The following are the station history comments for Butler Island AWS WMO ID 89266 from the University of Wisconson Antarctic Automated weather stations project. I assume this is GISS station ID Butler Island 700892660009. The temperature graph from GISS is available through-
The supplementary data of Steig et al 2009( indicate a warming trend of 0.45 C/decade for Butler Island – the highest of any site reported. I thought it would be interesting to see what the station history revealed-(from Note that Butler Island sits on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Google earth shows a featureless rounded island surrounded by sea ice.
Station history
1983: This unit was deployed by the BAS but upon installation at Butler Island the unit did not operate. The unit was removed leaving the tower and other equipment in place on Butler Island and will be returned to Wisconsin for repairs.
1986: AWS 8902 was tested and found to be functioning well. This unit was deployed 1 March 1986. The old station was located and found to be almost totally buried. The solar panel, aerovanes, and top tower section were returned to Rothera.
1986-87; 01 Mar 86. On 01 Oct 86 wind direction failed for unknown reasons. On 19 Jul 87 station stopped transmitting for unknown reasons.
1990: Wind speed and direction were intermittent after 2 May.
1991: Pressure gauge ceased functioning 8 Dec.
1992: Performance: 100%
1993: Performance: Station not functioning after 3 November.
1994: Performance: Station off until 15 February, and again 18 March-5 April. Wind system intermittent July, October-December.
1997: Performance:Aerovane replaced 11 February. Pressure had to be corrected due to a failure of the precision time-based correction to the system clock. Aerovane “frozen” most of the time in May and August through November.
1998: Performance:Aerovane not functioning from 10 September to 27 October. Pressure continues to need correction due to the failure of the precisiontime-based correctin to the system clock.
1999: Performance:Aerovane intermittently “frozen” in July. Pressure continues to need correction due to the failure of the precision time-based correction to the system clock.
2000: Performance:Aerovane not functioning from mid-June through December. Pressure continues to need correction due to the failure of the precision time-based correction to the system clock.
2001: the following work was done “Moved Solar panel and electronic boxes up so all above 120cm allowing accumulation for the next year.”(
2003 Visited on 22/12/03 The mast was not raised but the old solar panel and charging box were removed. The new solar panel was mounted on the mast. The new battery box was placed at the bottom of the mast in a hole that just buried it on the western side of the mast. A flag was placed on top of the box so it could easily be located. The wind vane was replaced with a repaired one. New cables were connected and the AWS started up without any trouble.
The GISS graph shows a break between 2003 and two new data points for 2007, 2008(?). There is data available for station 892660 for the intervening period but not shown on GISS (eg for some reason.
Given the station history I am surprised that Steig et al 2009 manage to define a trend at all let alone a rising one of 0.45degrees C/decade. If it were me I would have left this station out of the analysis altogether as it appears far to unreliable. I wonder how many other stations are similarly affected? Did reviewers bother to examine station records at all?
Note also there is a change in station altitude of about 100 m but I am unable to work out when this occurred.

From NASA: Satellites Confirm Half-Century of West Antarctic Warming — global-warming hype of the day?

Update: I contacted the ‘Today’ program on radio 4 which just ran the story with a praisee of George’s comments. They emailed me straight back and asked George to contact them direct.
I hope George sees this and sends them the post he made.

One of the main arguments in this thread is one ad hominem against one of the authors of the paper in Nature ( “Anytime Michael Mann gets involved …” ). This sounds poor.
The other argument is, volcanoes. I’m missing the quantification of this point – how can spots of volcanism be relevant for the warming of one half of the continent?
Somehow, not much justice is done to the paper. It corroborates results of several other papers and it uses widely applied methods. Using satellite data to fill gaps in coverage is used in many fields including weather forecast, and the verification proves that it works.
With this work we now have a broader picture of global warming in work in general, the dynamics of the lower stratosphere and the ozone layer influencing continental Antarctica and even cooling it in the last two or three decades, and regional winds and sea ice influencing the pattern of temperature change over the continent. It gives us hints, where coupled models need improvement, because we understand better, why they fail in some points. This is, how science works.

@ Mike (23:57:08) :
Hype of the day?
To identify causes of the warming, the team turned to Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, who has used computer models to identify mechanisms driving Antarctica’s enigmatic temperature trends.
Some bloke at GISS who has used computer models to identify
AGW is a ship called Titanic in 1912 ignoring the warnings of pack-ice and icebergs.

Neil Hampshire

So they have combined satellite data with conventional weather station data to show the Antarctic is warming.
Does this mean that the satellite data is now considered to be a valid measurement of global temperature trends or is it only valid in Antartica?


As a side issue read Richard North’s posts on carbon permits at
A Study in Useless says that a side effect of the recession is that the steel and cement industries in the EU now have a surplus of permits. They are trying to sell them to raise funds that they can’t get from their normal channels in the crippled banking system. Reuters reckons they could raise 1 billion Euros.
It will also depress the price still further, possibly as low as $5 a ton….bet Al Gore is crying into his Cheerios as he watches his carbon based investments tank. (Do they release CO2 into the atmosphere too as they evaporate?)
“Look behind You” says our government (UK) has committed to selling 25 million permits this year. Hardly worth the effort to raise just £125m. Mind you anything is something as they try to “save the planet”.
Belated congratulations to you Anthony. We’ve been away so only found out the good news today. Well deserved and hopefully you’re picking up a few more visitors from the UK now.


Almost exactly a year ago on 22/01/08 there was an article “Suprise! There’s an active volcano under Antarctic ice”, And the same pictures were used, perhaps on 22/01/09 there might be an article about one of those volcanoes blasting a hole in the ice sheet!


*22/01/10 not 09

Harry G

I cant wait to see Steve McIntyre’s take on this paper


Wathever the conclusion, this article invents a new kind of modelling, the retro-modelling, which gives them a very large road in order to re-write history …

How boringly predictable, every summer we have the same alarmist “all the ice is melting” BS. Every September in the North and January/February in the south.
However this year is different. This year they are deducing the data. So the raw data is NOT showing any meaningful or significant rise in temps? Could that be why there is MORE ice there than last year?
Mind you, the AGW alarmists have never let what is actually happening get in the way of their alarmism, have they?


The Australian Government and its cohort of green supporters will grasp this ‘scientific’ knowledge with both hands as the wheels appear to be falling off the proposed emissions trading scheme, not necessarily because of global cooling facts but people are nervous about jobs due to the global finacial meltdown. I just hope that one of politicians sees the threat of global cooling as a get out of gaol card for the stupid emissions trading scheme that will have no impact on the worlds emissions even if they were causing a problem, afterall Australia produces less than 1.5% of the worlds CO2 and its percentage is falling due to the growth of China and India.

Richard Heg

Real Climate have an article from co-authors of the report, gives some extra details.
I find this bit interesting,
“In our own published work to date (Schneider and Steig, PNAS), we find that the 1940s [edit for clarity: the 1935-1945 decade] were the warmest decade of the 20th century in West Antarctica, due to an exceptionally large warming of the tropical Pacific at that time.”
So if west antartica was warmer 60/70 years ago how would the trend look if we started it 70 years ago and not 50 years ago?
“Our results do not contradict earlier studies suggesting that some regions of Antarctica have cooled. Why? Because those studies were based on shorter records (20-30 years, not 50 years) and because the cooling is limited to the East Antarctic. Our results show this too, as is readily apparent by comparing our results for the full 50 years (1957-2006) with those for 1969-2000 (the dates used in various previous studies), below.”
So if there has been less warming or even cooling for the last 20-30 years, but is this not the time when CO2 concentratons were higher?
It all sounds like weather to me.
The BBC are all over this story
Hows this for drama:”A BAS team currently on site is reporting that the Wilkins shelf, about 15,000 sq km in area, is probably about to break free.
“It really could go at any minute, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the final cracks started to appear very soon,” said BAS’s David Vaughan.”

Kath (23:27:30) quotes in part: “Reviewers suggested that his results were dangerous to humanity.”
This beggars belief. Have we really sunk so low that science may be corrupted at will by thought control wild-eyers?
“…data analyses that were failing to show net warming over the past century.”
Was his data analyses correct or incorrect? Who cares? That’s not the point. He was apparently propping up the sky…
Slash (and burn).
What a sad time we are living in.

Don’t miss the really good bits from this story… strike fear into your heart…

“Professor Brook said it had been thought Antarctica was cooling partly because of the hole in the ozone layer, which allowed the hot air out.”
“Scientists now estimate the melting of Antarctica’s massive ice sheets will cause the world’s sea levels to rise by one to two metres by the end of the century.”

Southern ice cap victim of global warming

Anthony: I’m going to try to post on the Antarctic TLT sometime today or tomorrow as part of the series I was doing on the effects of ENSO and volcanic eruptions on TLT. Here are a few preview graphs of Antarctic temperatures from that future post.
The following are graphs of Antarctic and Southern Ocean TLT [AHU MSU] created from data available through the KNMI Climate Explorer Website. Keep in mind that the MSU satellite data does not reach the entire Antarctic, which is something I found curious about the use of satellite data for the University of Washington study. (They must be supplementing the sparse surface measurements with it.) In fact, RSS only lists data as far South as 70S. AHU extrapolates, smoothes, estimates, whatever, to provide data for the rest of the Antarctic. Regardless, here are additional graphs of the AHU TLT data for the Antarctic to add to the ones I put up yesterday for those discussing the Antarctic off-topic on the previous thread.
Here are the East and West TLT anomalies from 90S to 60S with linear trends. The trend in the west is flat, and the trend in the east is toward cooling:
The Southern Ocean would influence that data so I reduced the longitudes in the following to 90S to 70S. Again, this is apparently data that’s estimated by AHU because it’s outside the reach of the MSU satellite as far as I know. Finally, a dataset with a warming trend:
You’d have to segment the data looking hard for an area that’s warming differently that the rest of the continent in order to come up with one that’s more significant.
There’s a phenomenon that effects Antarctic sea ice called the Antarctic sea ice dipole, which has ENSO as one of its primary influences, so I decided to take a look at the Antarctic TLT dipole, which I calculated as Western TLT MINUS Eastern TLT for 90S to 70S and compared it to scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies. There’s some very apparent ENSO influence and at times it’s hard to tell what drives what. Curious.

Kohl Piersen

O.K. so a paper is produced and published which “finds” warming in East Antarctica.
The paper depends upon no new observations (no new data). It depends upon an examination of existing data and satellite data but uses a different analytical method.
So why aren’t the experts lining up to produce similar papers on similar data which show how this one is wrong?


“People were calculating with their heads instead of actually doing the math,”
A claim I find extremely unlikely…..

Leon Brozyna

What is a simple layman to make of all this?
Well, I notice that 3 of the 5 coauthors in this study (Rutherford, Mann, & Shindell) were also cited in the Wegman Report to Congress as being part of the social network involved in the infamous first hockey stick. Shindell (GISS) took part in the Nature teleconference; was he there to make sure all public pronouncements remained on message and that the proper spin was included?
And just as the hockey stick helped get rid of that inconvenient Medieval Warming Period (MWP), this new ‘research’ has managed to warm West Antarctica enough to overcome the cooling in East Antarctica so that the report can claim that on average the whole continent is warming. And just how were they able to pull off this feat? They devised {created; made up} a statistical technique {did they run it by a statistician to ensure their statistical approach was valid, since none of the coauthors is a statistician} to make a new estimate {so they don’t know what the temperatures were; they just came up with a guess that just happens to match their belief system}. Will this end up as yet another project for Steve McIntyre to examine the statistics used?
So is this the way modern ‘science’ works? Come up with a belief, then look for data that supports the belief while ignoring data that doesn’t conform? I think I’ll self-snip myself here before I let loose my frustrations on this latest display…


This is total drivel
There is no evidence for increased temepratures in the Antarctica:
(scroll down to the graphs)
The AGW hypothesis and modelling predicts warming at high latitudes and very little at the equator, due to the presence of atmospheric water vapour. It was always the failure of the Antarctica to warm, as well as the failure of temperatures to increase in line with atmospheric CO2 over the last 10 years, that left the warming hysterics without any case. They are trying desperatly to manufacture one.

Here are the graphs I posted as part of the off-topic comments on yesterday’s thread.
Has the Antarctic warmed? Yes. Has it warmed in recent years? No. Unless you use surface temperature data, then you have a rise in recent years.
Lower troposphere temperature:
A blurb from my post on Surface Temperature By Continent. Did they cherry-pick the start date for the study? Scroll down for the Antarctic:
It included a comparative graph of GISS, CRUTEM, and NCDC data for the Antarctic:
And the capper that seems to contradict their claim that the recent Antarctic cooling is a result of the change in ozone, blah, blah. How did man vary ozone in the early period of this graph to cause that drop in SST anomalies from 1880 to 1920? The peak in the 1980s/90s didn’t come close to reaching the SSTs at the end of the 19th century.
One of the authors of the Nature paper, Eric Steig, made an appearance at Lucia’s website and had a discussion with Roger Pielke Jr that’s worth reading. I, of course, had to throw a few graphs into the conversation.
And for those interested in the TLT of the Antarctic Peninsula, here’s a graph of it compared to scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies and to Sato Index data. The anomalous dip in 1986 appears to be the cause of the positive trend in Antarctic Peninsula Lower Troposphere Temperature.
I should be posting the rest of the Antarctic data in a day or two at my website.

Matty from Perth Summed it up –
By the time this is shot down they will have the headlines they wanted.
In today’s Australian Media Alarmist Professor Barry Brook has been having a field day.

That’s bad news if you live near the Australian coast,” Prof Brook said.
“In some areas where you’ve currently got housing, you’d probably have to abandon those areas.”
He said the sea would penetrate up to 1km inland in flat areas like South Australia’s lower lakes. Large areas which don’t see flooding now would get flooded by king tides.
House prices for coastal areas would probably drop, Prof Brook said.
Scientists already knew, he said, that the massive ice sheets of western Antarctica were melting, but the study showed they would melt more quickly.
The study, contained in today’s issue of Nature, was also bad news for climate change in general, Prof Brook said.
It had been thought Antarctica’s cooling would help restrain global warming by acting as a “cool pack”, but this did not appear to be the case

We have done our best to deal with this hysterical alarmism, but its all over the Australian TV News this evening-
See the Agmates post here.


What is the scale on the 2009 image?
Smoke and Mirrors
If Mann is involved in this, I’d put it straight in the trash.

Is the Wilkins Ice Sheet, which is mentioned recently by this Reuters report, in the region that should be affected by the volcanic activity? What about the reports of ice in Antartica growing by 20% in the past story about solar albeido?

As south america is divided in two different climates, separated by the Andes, also Antartica has two climates areas, as you say. I have observed that these issues conveniently appear during SH summer. Warmers will produce similar “papers” during NH next summer.

Simon Evans

But no, it just couldn’t possibly have anything at all to do with the fact that the entire western side of the Antarctic continent and peninsula is dotted with volcanoes. Recent discovery of new volcanic activity isn’t mentioned in the paper at all.
You are hypothesising that surface warming of Antarctica over the last 50 years might be significantly attributed to volcanic activity? That’s an interesting idea. Do you, or does anyone, have any figures to support such a notion?
The recent discovery you refer to was of a sub-ice volcano that erupted 2,000 years ago. Whatever its current level of activity and the extent to which that may continue to effect ice sheet flow, it’s somewhat hard to imagine the extent to which you think that might be affecting surface temperatures.
Does your hypothesis of volcanic activity as a driver of warming apply equivalently to other continents?

Bruce Cobb

Looks like they were looking for warming, got creative with the data, and well, what do you know, they “found” warming. That’s it? They needed a “last hurrah” and this is the best they could come up with? Pathetic. Funny thing is, even if they did manage to “prove” overall warming in the antarctic the past 50 years, all they’ve proven is the climate changed (maybe). Yes, we know. Now, please show us how man caused it.

old construction worker

I just read that Intel will be closing their wafer production in Santa Clara, Calif. and Williams-Sonoma of San Francisco will be cutting 1400 jobs.
Soon, Hollwood wil be the last industries in California and all the “Stars” will be on the government payroll. I wonder if they could live on $100,000.00 IOU’s per year.


A true disaster in the making with one to two metre sea rises and you will have to abandon your houses as well according to Professor Barry Bock, Director of the University of Adelaide’s Research Institute of Climate Change and Sustainability. [ Australia ]
The good Professor also has a reason for the cooling of the Antarctic as well!
“Professor Brook said it had been thought Antarctica was cooling partly because of the hole in the ozone layer, which allowed the hot air out.”
I kid you not! Check for yourself!
“The Australian” 22 / Jan / 2009,25197,24946666-11949,00.html

For the known argentinian geologist Miguel Gonzales, in his studies in the “Salinas del bebedero”, a salt lake in Argentina, all these weather changes coincide with solar minimums like the Maunder minimum, which produced drought in the argentinian “pampa” (plains), and which it is happening again now. So, in general, we have different weather systems: one west of the andes and the other east of the andes.

Roger Knights

There’s a partisan story on Bloomberg here:
Here are the headline plus selected paragraphs of spin:
Antarctic Warming Found by Scientists Dashes Argument (Update1)
By Alex Morales
Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — Antarctica has warmed over the past half-century, scientists said, dashing a key argument by skeptics who say climate change is overstated.
Temperatures rose an average 0.12 degrees Celsius (0.22 Fahrenheit) per decade since 1957, researchers led by Eric Steig, a professor of glaciology at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in the journal Nature. Using new measurement methods, they discovered warming in the continent’s interior, which United Nations-sponsored scientists theorized was cooling.
The findings may help puncture arguments by global-warming skeptics such as the late author Michael Crichton who have pointed to cooling in parts of Antarctica as an indicator that climate change is exaggerated.
“This has put the last pieces of the jigsaw in place,” Gareth Marshall, a British Antarctic Survey climatologist in Cambridge who wasn’t involved in the research, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “If you consider Antarctica as a whole, it shows a significant warming.”
Ice Shelves Breaking
The study indicates that the breakup of ice shelves already seen in the Antarctic Peninsula, a spit of land reaching toward South America, may “eventually” extend to other parts of the continent, Steig said in a telephone interview.
“The fact that the warming that is appearing on the peninsula extends way down into West Antarctica would suggest that eventually, if that trend continues, ice shelves in West Antarctica are also going to similarly be affected,” Steig said, pointing to a timeframe of “hundreds of years.”
Most ground-based temperature measurements from Antarctica began in 1957, and the data is largely from coastal areas. Gauging the vast interior by satellite didn’t begin until 1979. Steig’s team used mathematical models to establish the relationship between the ground and satellite measurements between 1979 and 2006 and then used the correlation they found to calculate temperatures for the interior going back to 1957.
Over the past 50 years the Antarctic Peninsula warmed an average of 0.11 degrees Celsius a decade, West Antarctica gained 0.17 degrees every 10 years and temperatures in East Antarctica rose by 0.1 degrees, Steig’s team found. The data from the east had a margin of error of 0.07 degrees, meaning the actual warming may be close to zero.
Even so, East Antarctica has cooled by about 0.2 degrees Celsius a decade since the 1970s, the researcher said.
“The warming prior to that was even greater than the cooling since and therefore, on average, it’s warming,” Steig said. The recent cooling has been attributed to the hole in the ozone layer caused by pollutants that are now banned so the cooling is likely to reverse in coming years, he said.
‘Huge Gap’ Filled
“Normally when ozone is warmed up by the sun, it causes the stratosphere, which is part of the atmosphere, to warm,” the British Antarctic Survey’s Marshall said. “If the ozone is missing, then that part of the atmosphere will cool and therefore you get this colder air over Antarctica and this propagates downwards toward the surface.”
Because of the statistical uncertainty that still surrounds the data from East Antarctica, Steig said his team’s biggest advance was in establishing there’s a clear warming trend in West Antarctica.
“The magnitude of the trend is larger in West Antarctica so we’re more confident that it’s warming,” Steig said. “We’ve really filled in a huge gap.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at


Update on scale – the original figure at NASA has it here
The figure in 2004 shows a cooling of 0.2C per year (2C per decade) in the heart of the Antartic Continent. Now we are to believe a warming of 0.1C per decade in the same place – quite a turnaround in view.
Again, per my comment previously….JUNK

Joel Shore

Anthony – You have presented us with two pictures, one labeled “NASA’s viewpoint – 2009” and the other labeled “NASA’s viewpoint – 2004”. They both show temperature trends but are you sure they show the trends over the same time period?
One of the points of this paper is that there are some places in Antarctica seem to have shown cooling over the last 20 or 30 years but appear to show warming over a longer (50 year) time period. And, this is in line with the idea that there might be a different countervailing forces operating…namely a general warming trend like the global trend but then also a cooling effect caused by a change in wind patterns due to ozone depletion (which only became significant around the late 1970s). Of course, this is still a rather speculative hypothesis. This piece discusses all of this more:

Bruce Cobb

From last Feb.:
“Despite the recent announcement that the discharge from some Antarctic glaciers is accelerating, we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century.”
So, I guess this means they’ll be changing their tune now to “a warming Antarctica is just what calculations predict…. and have predicted for the past quarter century”. AGW Believers hoisted by their own petard. Once again.