No real increase in 50 years
The study’s results from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University show the snowfall was nearly static, although most computer models assessing global climate change call for an increase in Antarctic precipitation as atmospheric temperatures rise.
“The year-to-year and decadal variability of the snowfall is so large that it makes it nearly impossible to distinguish trends that might be related to climate change from even a 50-year record,” said Andrew Monaghan, a center research associate and lead author of the study.
“There were no statistically significant trends in snowfall accumulation over the past five decades, including recent years for which global mean temperatures have been warmest,” Monaghan said.
The findings also suggest thickening of Antarctica’s massive ice sheets haven’t reduced the slow, but steady, rise in global sea levels, as some climate-change critics have argued.
The research is published in Science magazine.