Global Warming

South Pole Warming Faster

The South Pole has warmed three times faster than the rest of the planet in the last 30 years due to warmer tropical ocean temperatures, new research showed Monday. Antarctica’s temperature varies widely according to season and region, and for years it had been thought that the South Pole had stayed cool even as the continent heated up.

Researchers in New Zealand, Britain and the United States analysed 60 years of weather station data and used computer modelling to show what was causing the accelerated warming. They found that warmer ocean temperatures in the western Pacific had over the decades lowered atmospheric pressure over the Weddell Sea in the southern Atlantic. This in turn had increased the flow of warm air directly over the South Pole — warming it by more than 1.83°C since 1989.

Authors of the research said the natural warming trend was likely boosted by manmade greenhouse gas emissions and could be masking the heating effect of carbon pollution over the South Pole.

Beavers Gnaw at Permafrost

The beaver may be an unlikely agent of climate change, but the cuddly-looking creatures are transforming the Arctic landscape in a way that could be exacerbating global warming, a new study has suggested.

With their sharp teeth, beavers fell trees and shrubs and build dams, which flood small valleys and form new lakes that can cover several hectares of land. These new water bodies contribute to the thawing of the frozen permafrost soil, which is a huge natural reservoir of methane — a potent greenhouse gas. Scientists are concerned that as the permafrost degrades, the climate-changing methane and carbon leak into the atmosphere.

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