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By Jessica Berman
Washington
30 October 2008

Scientists have created a climate model that they say proves human activity is responsible for global warming not only at the North Pole, but at the South Pole as well. The model includes data from Antarctica about which relatively little is known. VOA's Jessica Berman reports.

Jumbled ice blocks litter the surface of the floating ice pack at the North Pole
Jumbled ice blocks litter the surface of the floating ice pack at the North Pole
While studies are reasonably clear on the role of carbon emissions by humans in causing global warming in the Arctic, less is know about the causes of warming in Antarctica because of its remoteness.

Some experts believe it is due to greenhouse gases while others believe changes in the Antarctic landscape are due to natural fluctuations in climate.

In a study in this week's issue of Nature Geoscience, an international team of scientists reports on the results of a new model they say proves the human footprint in global warming in the Antarctic.

The model incorporates 100 years worth of temperature data from the Arctic and about 50 years of recorded temperatures from stations in Antarctica.

The temperatures in the Antarctic were gathered along the coastal areas, according to scientists, because it is too difficult to get to the continent's interior.  

When the temperature data from both continents were plugged into the model, scientists say it clearly showed the human effects of global warming in the South Pole.

Andrew Monaghan is with the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He wrote the News and Views article in Nature.

"That's why this study is so important because it formally demonstrates the human contribution to [global warming] for the first time," he said.

In a teleconference with reporters, Monaghan said substantial warming has been detected along up to half of Antarctica's frozen coastlines that will lead to an even greater rise in sea levels.

"While nothing catastrophic is envisioned in the next century, there could be a substantial acceleration in the [ice] melt," he said.

Monaghan expects the effects of global warming will at the Poles even after humans stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

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