WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A new study finds that the Antarctic Peninsula started warming naturally over 600 years ago.
The study – published in the science journal Nature last week – found that the “high rate of warming over the past century is unusual (but not unprecedented) in the context of natural climate variability over the past two millennia.”
According to the Christian Science Monitor Journal, the warming trend in the Antarctic Peninsula was caused by natural variations.
“By the time the unusual recent warming began, the Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves were already poised for the dramatic break-ups observed from the 1990s onwards,” said the British Antarctic Survey, according to the Christian Science Monitor Journal.
Scientists say that several ice shelves around the peninsula have collapsed in recent years due to the region warming nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit per century.
“What we are seeing is consistent with a human-induced warming, on top of a natural one,” Robert Mulvany, lead author at the British Antarctic Survey, told the Journal.
Scientists studied the ice on James Ross Island, which is on the northern part of the peninsula.
“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,” Nerilie Abram, of the Australian National University, told the Journal.