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Recent Trends in Antarctic Surface Temperatures
Reference
Comiso, J.C. 2000. Variability and trends in Antarctic surface temperatures from in situ and satellite infrared measurements. Journal of Climate 13: 1674-1696.

What was done
The author assembled and analyzed Antarctic temperature data obtained from 21 surface stations and from infrared satellites operating from 1979 to 1998.

What was learned
The 20-year temperature trend over Antarctica derived from the satellite data was a cooling of 0.042C per year, while the 20-year temperature trend derived from the station data was a cooling of 0.008C per year.

What it means
"The slight cooling of the entire ice sheet observed in both in situ and satellite records during the last 20 yr," in the words of the author, "is intriguing, since during the same time period a general warming is being observed globally." In view of what we report in our editorial of 15 June 2000 (The Global Surface Air Temperature Record Must Be Wrong), however, the author's finding is actually only to be expected! Indeed, its veracity is confirmed by the author's observation that "the slight cooling detected in the entire Antarctic region is compatible with a slightly positive trend in the sea ice extent that has been observed from passive microwave data."


Reviewed 15 June 2000