It is not too hard to understand what is happening to the Arctic sea ice: our planet is getting warmer, and nothing stops from melting. However, things are more complicated on the other side of the planet, and the evidence comes from the latest Antarctic sea ice slump that worries the scientists.
It was not a good beginning of the new year for Antarctica because its level of sea ice is record-low based on the latest update released a few days ago by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSDIC). On the first day of the year 2.11 million square miles of water in the Southern Ocean was covered by sea ice rimming the continent, but for that date, it was missing 726,000 square miles. The reason behind this change is the most rapid December surge of sea ice loss on record which caused the Antarctic a similar loss in 2017 as well.
According to NSDIC, an extreme excursion of Antarctic sea ice happened in the November to December 2016 period.
You might think that the reason is climate change, well, you are close, but the facts stand in an analysis which was conducted after the 2016-2017 sea ice crash. The black sheep of that event was the westerly winds circling the continent migrate north.
Without making it longer, the last sea ice nosedive happened because of natural variability, according to scientists. However, no actual reason stands out for what happened this year with the ice crash. Cecilia Bitz, University of Washington sea ice researcher, told Earther that the Southern Annular Mode is not that serious at the moment and that it will not be long until scientists come with an actual reason that stays behind this event.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here