Record sea ice extent decline in Antarctica

Arctic sea ice has retreated dramatically in the 44-year satellite record. Antarctica is constantly monitored by scientists using measurements from ground, air and satellite to assess the most detailed view of ice thickness.

And Antarctic sea ice is now at its lowest level in 40 years since satellite observations began.

researchers from Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Bremen reported virtually ice-free conditions in the current research area, the Bellingshausen Sea.

In early February 2023, only 1,367,000 square miles of the Southern Ocean will be covered in sea ice, exceeding last year’s record low set in February 2022.

According to Christian Haas, head of the Sea Ice Physics Section at the Alfred Wegener Institute at the Helmholtz Center for Polar and Ocean Research, the ice could continue to shrink until the end of February.

Professor Haas said: Whether we are seeing the beginning of a rapid end to Antarctic summer sea ice, or the beginning of a new phase characterized by low but steady conditions of summer sea ice, remains to be seen. It’s not clear. “

With melting starting in December 2022, West Antarctica, where the research vessel Polar Stern is sailing, is virtually ice-free.

AWI geophysicist Professor Karsten Gohl, leader of the expedition that first visited the area in 1994, said: A continental shelf the size of Germany is completely ice-free.

The research vessel Polar Stern (James Kirkham/) in the ice-free Bellingshausen Sea, West Antarctica, January 2023.

Throughout the year, Antarctic sea ice typically reaches its maximum in September or October and its minimum in February.

In some areas, sea ice melts completely in summer. In winter, the cold climate across Antarctica promotes the rapid formation of new sea ice.

Antarctica’s sea ice area is typically up to 18 to 20 million square kilometers.

In summer, it shrinks to about 3 million square kilometers and exhibits much more natural annual variation than Arctic ice.

https://www.news4jax.com/weather/2023/02/13/record-low-sea-ice-cover-in-the-antarctic/ Record sea ice extent decline in Antarctica

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