Warming culprit CO2 has a cool side — and it’s in Antarctica | Science News

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Warming culprit CO2 has a cool side — and it’s in Antarctica

Combo of chilly surface temps and accumulating gas creates cooling effect

7:00am, December 4, 2015
Kohnen Station, Antarctica

CHILLING EFFECTS  Unlike other places on Earth, rising CO2 levels above central Antarctica (home to the Kohnen Station, a German research facility, shown) cause cooling, not warming, new research shows. 

In a cold corner of the world, carbon dioxide is doing something surprising. Instead of causing warming, rising CO2 levels over central Antarctica produce a net cooling effect, new research suggests.

That discovery does not undermine the fact that accumulating greenhouse gases raise temperatures elsewhere around the world (SN: 4/4/15, p. 14), the researchers say. The effect is instead a testament to the extreme and unique conditions in Antarctica’s interior.

“We’re not saying the greenhouse effect is rubbish,” says study coauthor Justus Notholt, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Bremen in Germany. “But in Antarctica, the situation is different.”

Central Antarctica is the only place on Earth where surface temperatures are regularly colder than those in the overlying stratosphere. So instead of

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