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Why Is the South Pole Warming So Quickly? It’s Complicated

Researchers collect soil and ice samples on an as yet unnamed beach in the Punta Ullmann region on January 04, 2020 in King George Island, Antarctica. Credit: Remote Antarctica may feel like the most isolated place on Earth. Secluded at the bottom of the world and surrounded by the turbulent Southern Ocean, in many ways it’s a step into another world.

But, as it turns out, the icy continent is more closely connected to the rest of the planet than it appears.

The South Pole is warming at a rate nearly three times faster than the global average, scientists have discovered. And much of that warming is linked to climate cycles happening thousands of miles away in the tropics. Advertisement The findings were published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change .

The study, led by Kyle Clem of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, examined surface air temperatures at the world’s southernmost weather observatory: the Amundsen-Scott station, located almost directly on top of the geographic South Pole. It’s a lonely, snow-covered outpost in the middle of the Antarctic continent, in a place where winter temperatures can drop below minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The researchers found that temperatures there have been rising […]

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