The researchers used satellite data and mathematical formulas to fill in missing
information. That made outside scientists queasy about making large conclusions
with such sparse information.
"This looks like a pretty good analysis, but I have to say I remain somewhat skeptical," Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an e-mail. "It is hard to make data where none exist."
Shindell said it was more comprehensive than past studies and jibed with computer models.
The research found that since 1957, the annual temperature for the entire continent of Antarctica has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, but still is 50 degrees below zero. West Antarctica, which is about 20 degrees warmer than the east, has warmed nearly twice as fast, said study lead author Eric Steig of the University of Washington. East Antarctica, which scientists had long thought to be cooling, is warming slightly when yearly averages are looked at over the past 50 years, said Steig.
However, autumn temperatures in east Antarctica are cooling over the long term. And east Antarctica from the late 1970s through the 1990s, cooled slightly, Steig said.
Some researchers skeptical about the magnitude of global warming overall said that the new study didn't match their measurements from satellites and that there appears to be no warming in Antarctica since 1980.
"It overstates what they have obtained from their analysis," said Roger Pielke Sr., a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado. Steig said a different and independent study using ice cores drilled in west Antarctica found the same thing as his paper. And recent satellite data also confirms what this paper has found, Steig added.
As Prometheus (the Science blog at the University of Colarado) points out,
two of its authors (one is Michael Mann from the Real Climate blog) argue that this refutes the skeptics and is “consistent with” greenhouse warming.... Of course, not long ago we learned from Real Climate that a cooling Antarctica was “consistent with” greenhouse warming and thus the skeptics were wrong:
So something proves a hypothesis, and so does the opposite. Logic is a wonderful thing isn't it.