1 January sea ice covered only 5.4 million square km of water in the southern ocean that surrounds the continent. It’s 1.88 million less long-term average for this date.
What is happening with sea ice in the Arctic, is quite obvious: the Earth is getting warmer and the ice melts. But on the other side of the planet, things are more complicated, and the proof was the recent sharp decline in Antarctic ice, which made scientists scratch heads.
Antarctica celebrated the New year with a record low level of sea ice, according to the report National data center for snow and ice. 1 January sea ice covered only 5.4 million square km of water in the southern ocean that surrounds the continent. It’s 1.88 million less long-term average for this date. Strange early 2019 December followed by rapid acceleration of melting sea ice in the entire history of observations, with the result that Antarctica broke the record for minimum sea ice prescribed in summer in the southern hemisphere 2016-2017, namely, in the period from November to December of 2016, informs Rus.Media.
You might think that all the fault of climate change, and will be partially right! But the analysis carried out after the fracture of sea ice in 2016-2017, the culmination of which was a seasonal minimum of sea ice in March 2017, revealed that the real reason is a combination of the weather with the extremely negative phase of the southern annular mode, when the West winds surrounding the continent shifted North.
In short, then, scientists have linked a dramatic decline in sea ice natural variability. But it is unclear what the cause of reducing the amount of ice this year. Explorer of the sea ice from the University of Washington Cecilia BTC says that the southern annular mode is not so negative, and no influence of the monster El Nino like in 2016.
Although part of Antarctica feel warm, until the last moment of the Antarctic sea ice has slightly grown, reaching a record volume in 2014. This is not to deny the existence of a warming trend, but indicates the complexity of the behavior of sea ice in the environment, which is influenced by ocean currents, and the giant continent.
The destruction of the ice, of course, requires additional research. Newly-launched NASA satellite ICESat-2 may be able to explain the mystery, thanks to its ability to measure the density of sea ice, a key indicator of age and health.