Antarctic Warming Rate Surprises Scientists: Today's Pic

Photographer: Michael Studinger/NASA

Continued summer warming in West Antarctica could be a large contributor to rising sea levels. Close

Continued summer warming in West Antarctica could be a large contributor to rising sea levels.

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Photographer: Michael Studinger/NASA

Continued summer warming in West Antarctica could be a large contributor to rising sea levels.

The ice sheet covering West Antarctica has warmed twice as fast as expected -- 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) since 1958, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. That's three times the average rise in global temperatures of about 0.8 degrees Celsius since the early 20th century. 

Glaciers and rock outcrops in Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica during an IceBridge flight on Oct. 17, 2011 from NASA’s DC-8 aircraft.

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