About UsNewspaper Editor InfoAdvertising OpportunitiesContact Us


By Climatologist Cliff Harris

I’ve decided to feature Antarctica’s current climate picture this week and Greenland’s ice pack update in my April 27 'Gems.' I’m still awaiting the latest data from Dr. Joseph D’Aleo, an AMS Fellow, well-informed on the subject.

Contrary to what the global warmists claim, our planet has been cooling off, not warming up, in the past couple of years due to a 'SILENT SUN,' almost completely devoid of sunspot activity. We’ve likewise been affected by a recent cooler water ‘La Nina’ in the Pacific Ocean regions.

As far as Antarctica’s climate is concerned, things have changed very little since the Vostok weather station was opened on December 16, 1957, more than a half century ago.

This station is located at 78 degrees, 27 minutes south and 106 degrees, 52 minutes east, or approximately 780 miles from the South Pole. The station was first run by the Russians, but is now being operated on a joint basis by France, the U.S. and Russia.

The mean temperature during the station’s first full year of operations was a bone-chilling -55.4 degrees Celsius (-65 degrees Fahrenheit).

Ten years later in 1968, the annual mean was -55.7 degrees Celsius, a tad colder. By 1988, the Vostok station had warmed a bit to -55.1 degrees Celsius, but the world’s all-time record low reading of -129 degrees Fahrenheit was observed during the middle of the period on July 21, 1983.

By 1998, just a year or so after the peak of the last major warm ocean water ‘El Nino,’ Vostok had an annual mean temperature of -56.8 degrees Celsius, slightly colder than ten years earlier.

Last year, in 2008, the station had a mean reading of -55.6 degrees Celsius, a bit less cold than ten years earlier in 1998. But, the -55.6 reading of 2008 was actually 0.2 degrees Celsius colder than 50 years before in 1958. By the way, Vostok plunged to -122 degrees Fahrenheit recently on August 8, 2005.

What does all this prove? Well, I’m certainly not going to build a summer home on the continent. Antarctica is still a very ‘hostile’ place to say the least.

Several of our subscribers have asked me recently why the Ross Ice Shelf in southwestern Antarctica broke off despite a rather stable climate overall on the continent.

The answer is that GRAVITY up stream pushed the 60-mile-wide, 200-mile-long Whillans Glacier into the Ross Ice Shelf which, in turn, was shoved into the Ross Sea.

When the tide falls, the ice often suddenly lunges forward and breaks off. This violent motion is occasionally equal to a magnitude seven earthquake. Its seismic waves are detected 3,000 miles away in Australia.