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Climate: Study sheds new light on Antarctic sea ice expansion

Growth in sea ice may be slower than reported

The water in the Antarctic Sound can be smooth as glass, and sometimes look thick and oily, probably because it's so cold. Click on the photo to learn about some of the environmental issues in Antarctica.

Scientists are puzzling over the expansion of Antarctic sea ice. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Global warming deniers have long been using the observed expansion of Antarctic sea ice as a way to try and confuse the public about the reality of global warming, but some new research by scientists with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego suggests the rate of expansion is not as dramatic as reported.

The findings, published in The Cryosphere (European Geosciences Union) acknowledge that there has been some expansion recently, but that some of the reported ice gain may be due to inconsistencies in computer models used to measure Antarctic sea ice. Continue reading

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Study projects major decline of Antarctic sea ice

Meltdown likely to have serious impacts on marine life

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How long will Antarctic sea ice persist? bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

*Adapted from a Virginia Institute of Marine Science press release. More Summit Voice stories on sea ice here.

FRISCO — While global warming deniers try to divert attention from the building climate crisis by pointing at record-high Antarctic sea ice extent, a new study suggests much of that ice will soon melt away.

Plugging projected increases in Antarctic air temperatures into finely scaled models, the scientists said the Ross Sea could lose more than half its summer ice by 2050 and more than 75 percent by 2100. Continue reading

Study shows links between Atlantic Ocean warming and changing climate in Antarctica

Findings may help explain changes in Antarctic sea ice patterns

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The Antarctic Peninsula is warming twice as fast as most other regions.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A team of New York University scientists say they’ve found potential links between gradual warming of the North and Tropical Atlantic Ocean and climate changes in Antarctica.

The researchers reached their findings after carefully analyzing 30 years of data, helping to show how distant regional conditions are contributing to Antarctic climate change and redistribution of Antarctic sea ice.

“Our findings reveal a previously unknown, and surprisingm force behind climate change that is occurring deep in our southern hemisphere: the Atlantic Ocean,” said Xichen Li, a doctoral student in NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the study’s lead author. “Moreover, the study offers further confirmation that warming in one region can have far-reaching effects in another.” Continue reading

Climate: Arctic sea ice stays below average in February

Downward trend continues …

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Antarctic sea ice was above normal in February and throughout the southern hemisphere summer, but that doesn’t balance the losses in Arctic sea ice, according to climate scientists. This NASA image shows ice in the Weddell Sea. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory web page for more information on Antarctic sea ice.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — With the spring equinox approaching, Arctic sea ice is nearing its maximum seasonal extent for the year, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center is reporting that there is no sign of any significant rebound in ice extent from the record-low levels of the last couple of years.

The average February Arctic sea ice extent has been declining at rate of 2.9 percent per decade since 1979, resulting in an overall decline of more than 1.57 million square kilometers (606,000 square miles) from 1979 to 2013. Read the full NSIDC report here. Continue reading

Climate: Shifting winds drive Antarctic sea ice changes

New study pinpoints regional growth and decline of Antarctic sea ice

Researchers are starting to understand how shifting wind patterns are driving changes in Antarctic sea ice extent. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — After compiling more than 5 million individual daily ice motion measurements of sea ice motion around Antarctica, scientists from the U.S. and U.K. say they’re sure that the recent increases in Antarctic sea ice are linked to changing wind patterns in the region.

Essentially, the circumpolar winds are strengthening around Antarctica, said Dr. Ron Kwok, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Why those winds are intensifying, and whether it’s linked with a warming atmosphere remains as a huge question, Kwok said. View a mult-year animation of Antarctic sea ice changes here.

“We are basically finding evidence of change over a long time scale … That’s why it’s inportant to quantify the mechanisms,” he said. “It’s probably associated with a changing climate. The Antarctic sea ice interacts with the global climate system very differently than that of the Arctic, and these results highlight the sensitivity of the Antarctic ice coverage to changes in the strength of the winds around the continent.” Continue reading

Arctic sea ice at new record low in December

Arctic sea ice continues to dwindle.

Air temps in large parts of Arctic more than 10 degrees above average,  Antarctic sea ice is at above-average extent

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With unusually warm air temperatures prevailing over the Arctic for the second year in a row, Arctic sea ice was at its lowest for December since satellite measurements began in 1979. At the same time, sea ice in Antarctica has remained at above average levels for the past four months during the spring melt season, according to a Jan. 5 bulletin from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Scientists with the center said sea ice extent average about 4.63 million square miles during December, about 104,000 square miles less than the previous minimum, set in 2006, and 1.35 million less than the 1979 to 2000 average. Since satellite measurements began, the linear rate of decline in Arctic sea ice extent is 3.5 percent per decade. Continue reading

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