Forty years of global warming have made East Antarctic summers even shorter and more miserably colder than they already were. (Save the wilderness — burn coal now?)


Surface Air temperature over East Antarctica (presumably in summer) from Hsu et al 2021.

East Antarctica is the vast mass of the Antarctic plateau which was, in theory, going to melt. If that three kilometer thick block of ice isn’t going to melt in summer, when exactly will it?

Remember when the poles were meant to amplify man-made global warming?


Antarctic summer tempedratures

Not much of Antarctica is warming in summer.

These graphs come from a paper that Kenneth Richard at NoTricksZone found. The authors Hsu et al think the cooling trend has a natural explanation (but if it had been warming, of course,  no one would have asked that question). Hsu at al estimate that 20-40% of the trend is due to the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO). And maybe it is, but they use climate models we know are broken. Curiously they predict the East Antarctic will keep cooling — which may be a first (for the models).

For what it’s worth the MJO is a massive convective atmospheric blob that rains its way from west to east across the Indian and then into the Pacific travelling east at 20 kilometers per hour or so. Over a couple of months it does a lap of the earth. Apparently it has a profound influence on both sides of the world — driving cold winter spells as far away as Canada and the US, and possibly, who knows, in Antarctica too.

But as it happens, the parts of Antarctica that were warming are mostly in West Antarctica and are sitting on top of a chain of volcanoes. The media never seem to mention that.

Antarctic Volcanoes, map. cooling, warming.

Could it be CO2, or is it volcanoes?


Hsu et al (2021) East Antarctic cooling induced by decadal changes in Madden-Julian oscillation during austral summer, Vol. 7, no. 26, eabf9903
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf9903


  • Joanne Nova

    A prize-winning science graduate in molecular biology. She has given keynotes about the medical revolution, gene technology and aging at conferences. She hosted a children’s TV series on Channel Nine, and has done over 200 radio interviews, many on the Australian ABC. She was formerly an associate lecturer in Science Communication at the ANU. She’s author of The Skeptics Handbook which has been translated into 15 languages. Each day 5,000 people read