Antarctic sea ice in dizzying decline since 2014

Antarctic sea ice in dizzying decline since 2014”

In 2014, in Antarctica, it reached a maximum value: 12.8 million square kilometers. But three years later, the annual average extent of Antarctic sea ice hit its lowest mark, wiping out three-and-a-half decades of gains, and then some, according to a new study.

But the sharp downward shift in recent years at least provides additional data that could enable researchers to test and refine their models, and unearth additional links between shifting climate and changes in sea ice.

Unlike the Arctic, Antarctica is not warming and remains the coldest place on Earth, as well as its largest source of freshwater.

This January 2017 photo provided by Ted Scambos shows sea ice on the ocean surrounding Antarctica during an expedition to the Ross Sea.

In 2018, the ice area has increased slightly, but was still the second lowest since 1979.

From 2014 to 2017, however, "the Antarctic lost nearly as much as the Arctic" over nearly 40 years, NASA climatologist Claire Parkinson told AFP, and the trend has continued ever since. Kilometers, according to the examine in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The difference covers an area bigger than the size of Mexico.

This massive drop comes after more than three decades of gradual increases in Antarctic sea ice coverage. Non-scientists who reject mainstream local weather science often had pointed at increasing Antarctic sea ice to deny or downplay the lack of Arctic sea ice.

"The Arctic has become a poster child for global warming", Parkinson said. Another satellite research uncovers that somewhere around 2014 and 2017 ocean ice degree in the southern half of the globe endured uncommon yearly abatements, leaving the zone secured via ocean ice at its absolute bottom in the span of 40 years. Antarctica is just the opposite, with land surrounded by open ocean.

Scientists believe changing wind patterns, changes in ocean circulation, or the El Nino effect could be to blame, but there is no consensus.

Note that the melting of surface ice does not affect sea level. Now, a few of those explanations may not quite fit, making what happens next still a mystery, Parkinson mentioned.

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