The South Pole Has Warmed 3 Times Faster Than the Rest of the Planet: Study


Jun 30, 2020


Image Credit: Getty Images

The South Pole has warmed up three times faster than the rest of the planet over the past 30 years, a study has found. For years, it was believed that the South Pole had remained cool, because it its location away from the coasts, while the rest of Antarctica heated up.

The Pole’s warming could have great implications for marine life in the region, and for people living along coastlines in the rest of the world. The World Meteorological Organization has said that Antarctica’s ice sheet contains enough water to raise global sea levels by nearly 200 feet.

“This highlights that global warming is global and it’s making its way to these remote places,” said Kyle Clem, postdoctoral research fellow in Climate Science at the University of Wellington, and lead author of the study.

For the study, Clem and his team analyzed 60 years of weather station data at the South Pole and used computer modelling to show what was causing the region to warm up. They found that it had heated up by 1.8 degrees Celsius, especially in the last 30 years, a rate three times the global average.

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The main reason behind the change, said researchers, was the increasing temperatures of the sea surface thousands of miles away in the tropics. Warming in the western tropical Pacific Ocean over the past 30 years meant there was an increase in warm air transported to the South Pole. They said that the natural warming trend could also have been accelerated by the manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

“The end result is a massive warming,” Clem said. He added that it is difficult to determine how to weight these factors, given that temperature records for the South Pole are only available for the past 60 years — one reason why the region’s climate changes are not very well-understood.

“There’s no place on earth that’s immune to global warming,” Clem said. “There’s nowhere to hide – not even up on the Antarctic Plateau.”


Written By Anubhuti Matta

Anubhuti Matta is an associate editor with The Swaddle. When not at work, she’s busy pursuing kathak, reading books on and by women in the Middle East or making dresses out of Indian prints.


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