There might be a possible natural explanation for West Antarctica's warming. In 2008, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey reported a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards frozen within an ice sheet in western Antarctica. The volcano punched a hole right through due to its heat and force.

This geologic event may prove to be the source of the recent warming seen in West Antarctica in what has otherwise been reported as a 50-year cooling trend seen in East Antarctica. This seems to be the first time scientists see a volcano beneath the ice sheet punching a hole through the ice sheet.

The location of the warming is contained in the western region by the mountain range, and that indicates that the warmer air comes from a local source and not from a global phenomenon to the entire continent. Even if the volcano hasn't erupted yet, it is now churning and bubbling beneath the surface, moving its heat and toxic gases around. Therefore, it's a contributing factor to the ice melting currently seen in West Antarctica.

As a whole, the continent at the bottom of the Earth, that is Antarctica, has warmed by roughly half a degree Celsius in the last 50 years. In order to determine that the continent is warming, not cooling, scientists have combined weather station records with satellite measurements. On average, the entire continent is warming especially in winter and spring. It remains to be seen if people will be able to do something to stop this process.