Smallest sea ice area in half a century recorded in Antarctica
Scientists from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) observed record-low indicators of the sea ice area in 44 years. According to experts, the decrease in area is associated with global warming and a more powerful inflow of warm water from subtropical regions to Antarctica – as noted by the institute’s press service, TASS reports.
“There are several reasons for this record low sea ice area. The main one is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which separates warm subtropical water in the north from cold water in the south. As the climate changes, the prevailing westerly winds intensify. Despite their insignificant influence on ocean currents, they strengthen circular return currents, which provokes the influx of warm waters into drifting ice,” the press service said.
In the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth, winter ends in September, when the sea ice area in Antarctica reaches its maximum: about 18-19m sq.km. Every year during December-February, summer sea ice melts around Antarctica, and usually the ice area is reduced to 3m sq.km, which is significantly more than in recent years.