Polar warming linked to humans

For the first time, international scientists have been able to directly link the shrinking ice in both Antarctica and the Arctic with greenhouse-gas emissions created by human activity, Reuters reported. Their study also strengthens the need to understand the effects of disappearing ice sheets in relation to the rising sea levels expected over the next century.


"We’re able for the first time to directly attribute warming in both the Arctic and the Antarctic to human influences," said Nathan Gillett of England’s University of East Anglia. With colleagues in Britain, Japan and the United States, he led the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.


Their work followed on from the UN Climate Panel’s conclusion in 2007 that the effect of human-created greenhouse gases had been "detected in every continent except Antarctica", where insufficient observation had prevented an assessment. The new study fills the gap by concluding that warming in polar regions is best explained by a build-up of greenhouse gases, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, rather than by natural changes.


The UN Climate Panel projects that sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 centimetres this century, which will likely cause more droughts, floods, heatwaves and destructive storms.


See full story