It's official: there is nowhere left to hide from global warming. The notion that Antarctica is the last continent not to be heating up because of climate change is dead, according to a new study.
The results suggest that the southernmost continent is warming roughly as fast as the rest of the planet. They overturn previous suggestions that only the Antarctic peninsula, which stretches points north towards South America, was heating up while the continent's interior cooled.
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its 2007 report, it declared: "it is likely there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica)".
The exception wasn't made because there was proof that Antarctica was cooling, says Gareth Williams of the British Antarctic Survey, but because there was not sufficient proof that the continent was warming. Since then, data from isolated parts of the seventh continent have confirmed Antarctica is not immune to global warming.
And now, Eric Steig of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues have used satellite data covering the entire continent to show that on average the entire continent warmed by 0.5°C between 1957 and 2006. On average, the planet has warmed 0.6°C in 50 years.