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Melting of Antarctic Ice Margins
Reference
Torinesi, O., Fily, M. and Genthon, C. 2003. Variability and trends of the summer melt period of Antarctic ice margins since 1980 from microwave sensors. Journal of Climate 16: 1047-1060.

What was done
Based on more than twenty years of data from the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager sensors carried aboard polar-orbiting satellites that have provided almost full spatial and daily or semi-daily coverage of Antarctica, the authors derived a history of cumulative melting surface for the last two decades of the 20th century.

What was learned
Torinesi et al. report that, on average over the last 20 years, "the cumulated product of the surface area affected by melting and the duration of the melting event, called cumulative melting surface ... has decreased by 1.8% 1% per year, a result that is consistent with a mean January cooling of the continent recently identified from infrared satellite data." Putting this finding in perspective, they note that "the surface affected by melt decreases over time, from about 1.6 x 106 km2 at the beginning to about 1.0 x 106 km2 at the end of the period (i.e., from 11.4% to 7.2% of the total continental surface)." In addition, they say that "no region shows any significant increase, except possibly the peninsula for the mean melt duration."

What it means
The researchers say that "a recent negative continental trend for the January surface temperature is reported by Comiso (2000)," and that "our results are consistent with a mean January cooling on the continent, which in turn appears compatible with a recent slightly positive trend in the summer sea ice extent (Cavalieri et al., 1997)." Last of all, they say that "the climatic interpretation of our evidence and other evidence of Antarctic climate trends in the last 20 years or more is not obvious," presumably because this evidence does not support climate-alarmist claims of concomitant and "unprecedented" CO2-induced global warming. Nevertheless, he who has eyes to see can clearly see the truth of the matter.

References
Cavalieri, D., Gloersen, P., Parkinson, C., Comiso, J. and Zwally, H. 1997. Observed hemispheric asymmetry in global sea ice changes. Science 278: 1104-1106.

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

Reviewed 6 September 2006