Hole in Antarctica Ice the Size of Maine Opens Up, But Why?

A Giant Mysterious Hole Has Emerged In Antarctica And Scientists Still Don't Know The Reason

Many climate scientists thought that, based on their theories of climate change, the formation of this deep-sea polynya would not form again in the Antarctic. Temperatures are in their usual frigid range for this time of year. If it were not for the satellite, we would not have found out that it is there, "said physicist Kent Moore, professor at the University of Toronto". The polynya's occurrence confirms what scientists had previously calculated, and they want to know what made the hole reopen for two years in a row after four decades of not being there. The polynya was observed in the same region in the 1970's, then disappeared and appeared on a few weeks back a year ago. In addition, scientists hope that in the near future it will be possible to simulate such a system with the help of computer simulation.

The blue curves represent the ice edge, and the polynya is the dark region of open water within the ice pack. This gaping polynya, which measures an area equivalent to the Netherlands, opened right in the middle of a sea which would have otherwise been completely covered in thick ice. Then it wasn't seen for four decades, reopened for a few weeks previous year and has emerged yet again.

"Why was the Weddell polynya present in the 1970s, and then absent until its recent reappearance?"

Many experts have said that what actually could have happened is that warm salt water from deep under the ice could have managed to squeeze its way through the colder layer of fresh water thus ultimately melting the layer of ice that covers it.

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Since the hole continually exposes the water to the atmosphere above, it is hard for new ice layers to form.

"There's a bit of a mystery going on in Antarctica at the moment", said Céline Heuzé, a physical oceanographer at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, to Earther. Dr. Mojib Latif, head of the Research Division at GEOMAR.

A preliminary analysis run by American scientists suggests that the Weddell Polynya should not occur again because of climate change at all.

"Global warming is not a linear process and happens on top of internal variability inherent to the climate system", Latif continued. "We don't really understand the long-term impacts this polynya will have".

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