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Human influence on climate extends to Antarctica

Human influence on our climate is now apparent on every continent, including Antarctica. The first ever detection and attribution study of the Antarctic, published in Nature Geosciences, confirms rapid warming in this region.

In a report delivered in 2007 the IPCC concluded that the human fingerprint could be detected in an average temperature rise over each continent except Antarctica. However, this new study of almost 60 years of temperature records showed this is no longer the case and that Antarctica has warmed due to human influence.

It was led by Nathan Gillet, then working at the Climatic Resarch Unit at the University of East Anglia, who also performed the world’s first detection and attribution study in the Arctic. Rapid warming is caused by positive feedbacks within the climate change, and is entirely consistent with computer simulations of the climate.

Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office said:

“In both polar regions the observed warming can only be reproduced in our models by including human influences, natural forcings alone are not enough.”

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