New analyses show that Antarctic surface temperatures increased more than 1°F (0.5°C) in the last half century. West Antarctica warmed at a higher rate, rising 0.31°F (0.17°C) per decade. The results, published Jan. 22, 2009, in Nature, confirm earlier findings. While some areas of East Antarctica have been cooling in recent decades, the longer 50-year trend depicts that, on average, temperatures are rising across the continent. West Antarctica is particularly vulnerable to climate changes because its ice sheet is grounded below sea level and surrounded by floating ice shelves. If the West Antarctic ice sheet completely melted, global sea level would rise by 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 meters).