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Antarctic Ice-Sheet and Sea-Ice Albedo and Temperature: 1981-2000
Reference
Laine, V. 2008. Antarctic ice sheet and sea ice regional albedo and temperature change, 1981-2000, from AVHRR Polar Pathfinder data. Remote Sensing of Environment 112: 646-667.

What was done
For the spring-summer period of November/December/January, the author determined 1981-2000 trends of Antarctic ice-sheet and sea-ice surface albedo and temperature, as well as sea-ice concentration and extent, based on Advanced Very High Resolution Polar Pathfinder data in the case of ice-sheet surface albedo and temperature, and the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer and Special Sensor Microwave Imagers in the case of sea-ice concentration and extent. These analyses were carried out for the continent as a whole, as well as five longitudinal sectors emanating from the south pole: 20E-90E, 90E-160E, 160E-130W, 130W-60W, and 60W-20E.

What was learned
Laine reports that "all the regions show negative spring-summer surface temperature trends for the study period," noting that "the slight cooling trends seem to be parallel with the results of Comiso (2000), who studied Antarctic temperature trends using both satellite and station data." In addition, the Finnish researcher states that "the sea ice concentration shows slight increasing trends in most sectors, where the sea ice extent trends seem to be near zero." As a result of these several findings, it is not surprising that Laine also reports that "the Antarctic region as a whole and all the sectors separately show slightly positive spring-summer albedo trends."

What it means
In a world that supposedly experienced unprecedented warming over the last two decades of the 20th century, it is interesting to learn that the whole of Antarctica appears to have bucked the global trend: by cooling a bit, acquiring slightly more sea ice, and becoming a tad more reflective of incoming solar radiation.

Reference
Comiso, J.C. 2000. Variability and trends in Antarctic surface temperatures from in situ and satellite infrared measurements. Journal of Climate 13: 1674-1696.

Reviewed 18 June 2008