Record amount of new ice in Antarctica

Record amount of new ice in Antarctica
It happens contrary to climate scientists' assumptions. For the third consecutive year, the sea ice in Antarctica had a record growth.

While the ice at the North Pole disappears with great speed , the situation on the other side of the planet is opposite.

It is a mystery to climate scientists world wide.

- What we learn from this is that we have more to learn, Ted Scambos, chief scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, says.

- What happens in Antarctica is surprising and is now being closely monitored by the researchers, the Norwegian climate scientist Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu at the Bjerkness Centre, says.

According to the latest figures from NSIDC the ice in Antarctica. this year reached the record growth on 22 September.

The extent of sea ice in Antarctica was when 20,110,000 square kilometers.

This is 1.54 million square kilometers more than normal, ie average from 1981 to 2010.

The measurements from 2014 follows the trend from 2012 and 2013, when new records for ice extent were set too. Sea ice is measured from satellites which it has been done since the late 70s.

Looking for an explanation

The world is getting warmer and the ice cover both north and south of the globe but should have melted - in theory. Nevertheless ice growth in Antarctica goes in the opposite direction.

One of several possible explanations is about wind patterns.

Sometimes the world winds are changing and cold air masses are flowing down over new areas - for example as they did when an extreme cold wave struck the United States last winter.

In Antarctica, scientists believe that the location of low pressures have provided excellent conditions for sea ice.

Repeated low pressures have been on the western side of the continent, where temperatures actually goes up and the ice decreases. On the south side however, in the vast Ross Sea, ice is growing.

This indicates that the low pressures have pumped hot air into the west and simultaneously pulled cold air from the continent onto the Ross Sea.

Big mystery to solve

The Antarctic continent is vast, about one and a half times larger than the United States.

With only 80 research stations, where about half are staffed year-round, it goes without saying that scientists have major challenges with monitoring what is happening. Satellite measurements are not enough.

- There is not yet an explanation which I would say people have been able to agree upon and say "this is established, which is why this happens, Claire Parkinson from NASA, says.

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