Recent satellite data shows that Antarctic sea ice extent is at a record low. The decrease in sea ice is believed to be primarily caused by human-caused global heating from the burning of fossil fuels. The melting of sea ice affects Earth’s temperature by lowering the temperature of the water below and reflecting the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere.
Antarctic sea ice is currently less than 17 million square miles, which is 1.5 million square miles less than the average for September. This is significantly lower than the average record low for winter. The missing ice is approximately five times the size of the British Isles.
The Antarctic system is complex and poorly sampled, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the decrease in sea ice extent. However, it is clear that the rapid pace of warming in the region has had a significant impact. The distribution of keystone species, such as krill, has been altered due to the warming. Sea ice in the Antarctic may not significantly recover, making it more vulnerable to future changes.
Antarctica and its ocean have been warming faster than the rest of the planet, with ice shelves melting at a rate six times faster than in the 1980s. Last year’s Antarctic heatwave caused temperatures to be 40 degrees Celsius higher than normal. These extreme weather events were not predicted when scientists first began studying the Antarctic.
The melting of land ice in Antarctica since the 1990s has contributed to sea-level rise. Just moderate sea-level rise can lead to hazardous storm surges, which pose a threat to coastal communities. The potential consequences of further melting and warming in Antarctica are dire and could have disastrous effects on the world.
In conclusion, the rapid decrease in sea ice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica is a cause for concern. The primary cause is believed to be human-caused global heating, and the impact on Earth’s temperature and keystone species is significant. The vulnerability of Antarctic sea ice and the potential consequences of further melting and warming are alarming and require immediate attention.
– BBC News
– National Snow and Ice Data Center
– University of Exeter
– University of Manitoba’s Centre for Earth Observation Science
– Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition
– Nature Climate Change Journal