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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Icy Hot? Shackleton's Playground Heats Up

New study suggests climate change has finally come to Antarctica

Global warming deniers may have lost a key ally in their argument against climate change today.  The traitor is none other than the continent of Antarctica: A study published today in Nature ushered Antarctica into the ranks of the other six warming continents.

For years, the apparent cooling of the southernmost continent has baffled climate change scientists. From the late 70s to the 90s, data indicated that Antarctica, unlike most of the world, was actually getting a little colder, and without an army of monitoring stations or heaps of weather data from the difficult-to-monitor continent, climate researchers regarded Antarctica as an anomaly in an otherwise warming world.

But you shouldn’t expect to be sipping margaritas from the beaches of Antarctica anytime soon. Climate change trends are very slow and the average temperature on the coldest continent still hovers around 50 degrees below zero F.  But that’s 1 degree warmer than the average 50 years ago.

If warming in Antarctica continues, it could add to a host of serious climate problems, including sea level rise from melting ice.  Although there are no polar bears on that pole, it’s conveniently filled with dozens of cute and cuddly species of penguins just waiting for their place in the species-in-plight spotlight. Hope you liked March of the Penguins.

--Morgan Keys

Study: Antarctica joins rest of globe in warming (AP)

Image Credit: Christian Revival Network

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