Scientists say there’s now more sea ice packed around Antarctica than they’ve seen since satellites first started observing it 35 years ago.
The ABC reports the discovery was made two days ago.
Jan Lieser from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said satellite imagery revealed an area of ice around the continent roughly “double the size” of Antarctica itself.
“Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we’ve never seen that before, that much area,” Lieser told the ABC.
Sea ice forms around Antarctica on a seasonal basis in areas with specific combinations of currents and wind patterns.
While it’s third year in a row the amount of sea ice around Antarctica has been seen to reach record levels, it’s not actually the good news climate change deniers were waiting for.
Here’s what the CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, told the ABC about that:
“The extent of sea ice is driven by the winds around Antarctica, and we believe that they’re increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone.”
So according to Worby, the increase in sea ice strengthens the global warming case, although a recent study showed the ozone layer had recovered slightly.
As sea ice around Antarctica expands, the ice on the actual continent itself which is not over the ocean is still shrinking.
A NASA expert last month told the Daily Mail that “vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw”.
And debate still rages at the other end of the planet, where Arctic sea ice has grown in the past two years from its record low in 2012.
Even Elon Musk has weighed in, tweeting what he says is “the graph that really matters”.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 1, 2014
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