A Large Hole Seems To Have Formed In The Antarctic Sea Ice
15 October, 2017, 01:30 | Author: Yolanda Murray
Scientists weren't expecting the polynya to re-appear, and aren't sure why it has resurfaced twice in the past two years. The latest change is something tougher to explain.
With climate change having devastating effects on the Antarctic, researchers have a new worry - a hole, in size larger than Netherlands, has opened up in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica.
Now, a massive hole the size of Lake Superior has appeared many miles inland from where the ice meets the ocean, and scientists have little concrete explanation as to why it's there.
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Moore told Vice that scientists observed a similar polynya in the Weddell Sea in the 1970s, but they hadn't seen it again until past year.
Scientists first spotted it via satellite in the early '70s, when it opened up for three consecutive winters.
A smaller polynya was observed in the same area in the 1970s but the exact sale of that fissure was not recorded. Then it disappeared for 40 years, Moore said, only to reappear for three weeks in 2016.
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Located in the Weddell Sea, scientists discovered the South Carolina-sized hole about a month ago, according to National Geographic.
Many will suspect this has something to do with climate change, which is the main culprit for numerous sea ice changes in Antarctica.
Torge Martin who is a meteorologist and climate modeller at the Helmholtz Centre told the Earther that many climate models can cause the generation of such massive ocean polynya, the feature was viewed more as a disruptive model glitch than a true phenomenon in the past.
Moore, along with the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM) group at Princeton, are studying the mysterious hole, which showed up in satellite images around September 9. Water on the surface cools and becomes denser from contact with the frigid air, causing it to sink down. Until then, this hole in the ice will remain mysterious. "If we didn't have a satellite, we wouldn't know it was there". "So something's going on, but we just don't have enough data yet to really pin it down".
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