How are we gaining ice???

Sea ice extent around Antarctica on September 26. Yellow line shows median September sea ice extent from 1979 to 2000.

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.

This show the maximum sea ice extent since 1979

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.


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3 responses to “How are we gaining ice???”

  1. chelsear0017 says :

    Wow Miles, I never thought that this would happen. Its interesting that some movies we have watched in class say that we are losing ice. Interesting how somethings we do find out that aren’t straight up told to us.

  2. annah0017 says :

    Good post, Miles. However, when you dig deeper into this topic, you discover that the Antarctic ice’s rise isn’t going to do much. Arctic sea ice levels have dropped forty percent, but compared to that one percent a year… Also, Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, says, “We have known for many years that as the Earth started to warm up, the effects would be seen first in the Arctic and not the Antarctic. The physical geography of the two hemispheres is very different. Largely as a result of that, they behave very differently… The ozone hole affects the circulation of the atmosphere down there. Because of the ozone hole, the stratosphere above Antarctica is quite cold. Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs UV light, and less absorption [by] ozone makes the stratosphere really cold. This cold air propagates down to the surface by influencing the atmospheric circulation in the Antarctic, and that keeps the sea ice extensive.” So I don’t think the Antarctic ice levels increasing is a reason we should sit back and relax about climate change.

    • kmlewis1234567890 says :

      Interesting point, I can see that you took some time with your reply. Thanks for your opinion. And yes I agree, It wouldn’t mean the end of global warming if the ice levels around Antarctica rose 1%.

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