How are we gaining ice???
Is it possible that we are gaining sea ice, not losing it? This does sound pretty crazy right? All the talk about global warming and the polar ice caps melting, how we need to stop squandering the earth. What if we are somehow gaining ice on the polar ice caps.
Despite frequent headlines about a warming planet, melting sea ice, and rising oceans, climate analysts pointed to a seeming bright spot this week: During Southern Hemisphere winters, sea ice in the Antarctic, the floating chunks of frozen ocean water, is actually increasing.
Yes… another National Geographic article… deal with it. Back to the point of this blog post; in late September, a satellite detected that Antarctica was surrounded by the most amount of ice ever recorded around it; 7.51 million square miles to be exact. You may remember in one of my previous posts I quoted the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Also, we already know that they are a reliable source on the topic of climatology. They wrote an article about this interesting discovery.
Two weeks after a new record was set in the Arctic Ocean for the least amount of sea ice coverage in the satellite record, the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its annual winter maximum—and set a record for a new high.
In the graph shown here, (you may click on it to make it bigger), you can tell that even though the dots appear to be all over the place, you can still trace a slight positive trend towards more ice. According to a recent study done by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (don’t ask me why they did the study) the Antarctic sea ice has increased by an estimated 17,100 square kilometers a year since 1979, about a 0.9% increase per year.
Now, that being said, keep in mind that as the excerpt from the article said, it was the “annual winter maximum.” This meaning the most amount of ice usually comes around this time. This story would’ve been an even bigger deal if all this happened during the annual winter minimum. So was this just a fluke? Was it just an outlier in the mist of data? Or could this actually mean something in terms of the status of global warming? It’s pretty interesting that this happened in my opinion. I guess if you take into account that this was at the annual winter maximum, but still, the growth of ice has been 1% a year ever since 1979. 1% may not sound like much but on such a large scale like the millions of square kilometers of ice in the Antarctic it does make a difference.