Monday, November 3, 2008

Study: Climate change at poles man-made

For millions of years, Antarctica, the frozen continent at the southern end of the planet, has been encased in a gigantic sheet of ice. Recently, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite has been taking sensitive measurements of the gravity for the entire Earth, including Antarctica. Recent analysis of GRACE data indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet might have lost enough mass to cause the worlds' oceans to rise about .05 inches, on the average, from between 2002 and 2005. The picture was taken on the Riiser-Larsen ice shelf in December 1995. (UPI Photo/NASA/GRACE team/DLR/Ben Holt Sr.)

Temperature increases in Antarctica and the Arctic region are the result of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, researchers in England have concluded.

The Independent reported Saturday that the study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, marks the first time scientists have been able to prove a link between climate changes in both polar regions and human activities.

"We're able for the first time to directly attribute warming in both the Arctic and the Antarctic to human influences on the climate," said Nathan Gillett of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, who led the study.

The findings run counter to the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that Antarctica was the only continent where the human impact on the climate had not been observed.

"For a long time, climate scientists have known that Arctic areas would be expected to warm most strongly because of feedback mechanisms, but the results from this work demonstrate the part man has already played in the significant warming that we've observed in both polar regions," said Peter Stott of the Met Office Hadley Center, who took part in the modeling analysis.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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