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Antarctic sea ice has reached a record low

Antarctic sea ice has reached a record low

The amount of sea ice surrounding the southern continent in July will be the smallest in 2023 since satellite measurements began (1978). the Earth Observatory photo provided

Antarctic sea ice also follows an annual trend, melting and freezing about 15 million square kilometers. However, in this year’s southern arctic winter, the freezing is particularly slow, so the ice-covered sea area is only growing slowly. In July, for example, it was 2 million square kilometers less than the 30-year average (that’s roughly the same amount of land as Mexico).

According to the map, there was less ice everywhere around the continent, only in the Amundsen Sea, along the southwestern edge of the continent, was there more sea ice than average.

Sea ice volume so far, the red line indicates the year 2023, and the orange preceding it, which was the lowest from the previous record.

Source: Earth Observatory

July this year is still 1.5 million square kilometers below last year’s record low range in July, and this is unprecedented since the beginning of the satellite observations. Unfortunately, this seems to be a continuation of a trend that started in 2014. Until 2014, about every 10 years. Sea ice increased by 1 percent, reaching the largest extent measured that year, but since then it has been decreasing steadily and rapidly. The previous negative record years were 2017, 2022 and now 2023 – practically every month since 2016 has brought mediocre ice cap.

Claire Parkinson, who has been monitoring sea ice with satellites since 1983, said the reason for the increase until 2014 and the rapid decline since then isn’t entirely clear. He found out during his recent research The decrease that occurred in the Southern Arctic between 2014-2017 far exceeds what we have seen in the reduction of sea ice extent in the northern Arctic in recent years.

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Although it is not yet possible to say with absolute certainty, calculations increasingly indicate that the Antarctic sea ice system is also undergoing a transformation, perhaps as an indirect consequence of changes in the ocean. Heat stored in the ocean can hinder growth in the fall and winter much more than it can play a large role in summer melting.

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