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Recent Antarctic Peninsula Warming Unusual

August 22, 2012; 3:50 PM ET

New ice core research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the rapid warming of this region over the last 100 years has been unusual.

The research team, lead by Dr Robert Mulvaney OBE, from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) showed that a slower, natural warming event began in this region about 600 years ago followed by an accelerated warming over the last 100 years.

This is the first comprehensive reconstruction of a 15,000 year climate history from an ice core retrieved from James Ross Island in the Antarctic Peninsula region, according to the Eurekalert story.

This particular region on Earth has warmed nearly 2 degrees C. in the past 50 years, making the Antarctic Peninsula one of the fastest warming places on the planet.

The rapid warming in this region over the past 50-100 years coincides with present-day disintegration of ice shelves and glacier retreat, according to Dr. Mulvaney.

Dr. Mulvaney also stated.......

"This is a really interesting result. One of the key questions that scientists are attempting to answer is how much of the Earth's recently observed warming is due to natural climate variation and how much can be attributed to human activity since the industrial revolution."

"......if this rapid warming that we are now seeing continues, we can expect that ice shelves further south along the Peninsula that have been stable for thousands of years will also become vulnerable," says Co-Author Dr Nerilie Abram formerly from British Antarctic Survey and now with the Research School of Earth Sciences, at The Australian National University.

This report was posted in this weeks issue of the journal Nature.

You can view video and photos of the team working on James Ross Island right here.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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